Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Forest Department officials in the Capital City busted a racket allegedly involved in the smuggling of snake venom on Saturday.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Alok Kumar Mishra told OTV that 3 conduits of the racket were taken into custody while they were trying to strike a deal for the deadly venom which for which they had struck a deal of Rs 10 lakh.

The trio belong to Bolangir in western Odisha.

Giving details of the operation, Mishra said that after the forest department was tipped off about the racket’s activities in the Capital City a deal was struck by undercover officials masquerading as prospective customers.

As per the deal, the venom, stored in sealed safe containers and bottles, was to be handed over at a place behind the Capital Hospital, near Ganga Nagar square. The place is not far from the international airport.

As the conduits handed over the containers at the trap point,  forest department sleuths who were lying in waiting in plain cloth rounded them up. They were swiftly taken into custody.

Mishra said the identity of the smugglers would be known only after questioning. To a question what species of snake venom were they peddling, Mishra said, “they are yet to be questioned. Everything will be revealed during their questioning.”

Meanwhile, one of the arrested accused claimed that they had no knowledge about the content in the packets which were handed over to them by ‘some people’ claiming to be medicines. “We had no idea what was inside. The consignment was given to us at Baragarh bus stand in Sambalpur.”

Meanwhile, Mishra said the department will run a check on the files to know if they were involved in any such case in the past.