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Sharmili Mallick

Mayurbhanj: The Special Task Force (STF) of Crime Branch busted a pangolin smuggling racket by arresting four persons from Ambadiha village under Udala police limits in Mayurbhanj district on Friday night.

Two pangolins including a female and a baby pangolin weighing around 13 kgs from their possession, informed CB SP Satyajit Nayak in a presser today.

The arrested have been identified as Balia Andhara Judia of Ambadiha colony in Udala, Janmenjay Naik of Ambadali and Raghunath Behera of Chakradharpur under Kaptipada in Mayurbhanj district and Debendra Das of Manudiha area under Basta in Balasore district.

The pangolin smugglers had cracked a deal to sell the animals at a whopping Rs 22 lakh to another gang which is suspected to have links outside the country.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch STF is interrogating the four accused to elicit more information regarding the pangolin smuggling racket network which spreads to different parts of the country and outside.

"The Baripada Forest division officials in January had seized leopard skin and  Pangolin scales weighing around 3.4 kg," said Divisional Forest Officer of Baripada, Swayam Mallick.

"As pangolins are categorised under schedule-I animals, a case will be registered into the matter. After a detailed investigation, we will be able to establish whether the gang operates independently or has links with any national or international racket," stated Nayak.

The pangolins will be handed over to forest department so that the animals live in natural and safe environment, added the SP.

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