Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Oct 22:
Six snake venom smugglers were arrested from a local hotel near Old Railway Station under the Laxmisagar Police limits here for illegal possession of King Cobra venom late on Monday night.
Dhirendra Kumar, Om Prakash Kumar and Praveen Singh, all from Patna in Bihar, Dharmendra Kumar of Gaya in Bihar, Bhrugunath Singh of Bardhaman district in West Bengal and Sankar Kumar of Bihar were arrested for alleged involvement in illegal trade of venom of King Cobra and other poisonous snakes.
About 607 ml of venom kept in one bottle worth more than Rs 2 crore was seized from them. Besides, two polypacket sample of 5 ml and 2 ml of venom were also seized from the accused, local forest officials said.
Acting on a tip-off, Mancheswar forest division officials led by Ashok Mishra and Bishnu Charan Behera raided Payal hotel here on Monday night and arrested six persons for possession of illegally obtained snake venom and booked under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
All the six accused persons were forwarded to the court on Tuesday, the forest divisional officials said adding that the venom samples have been sent to the State Forensic Laboratory for testing.
Investigations are on to find out more about the smugglers and whether they are part of a wider international racket , Behera said.
The accused persons, however, said they had no plans to sell the venom and that they had been camping here for the last two days to try and handover the venom collected by them to the forest officials.
Cobra venom is used for medical research and preparation of anti-venom drugs. But under the wildlife laws, it is a crime if any unauthorised person tries to collect, buy or sell it.