The property cell of Mumbai crime branch arrested four people who were trying to sell a 100-year-old elephant tusk worth Rs. 2 crore on Wednesday.
A team of policemen presented themselves as potential buyers before the accused, after receiving a tip-off from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau that the antique tooth was in Mumbai.
Picture for representation only. Source: Wikimedia
The four people — Hitesh Joshi, Pravin Soni, Rajesh Dave and Dharam Gupta — had been looking for buyers and had been in possession of the tooth for about 20 days. According to a report, one of them is a share market broker and another an imitation jewellery businessman. The officials received information that they were staying at Cyrus Hotel in Khetwadi area.
“We posed as decoys interested to buy the elephant tooth. They said that it was at least 10 decades old tooth and that heavy antique work was done on it. The older the tooth the higher is the glaze and it turns brownish. The deal was struck at Rs 6 crore, soon after which other team members entered the room and raided it,” a crime branch officer told Hindustan Times.
A case with charges of prohibition of hunting, restriction on transportation of wildlife, and dealing in animal articles without license, has been registered against them at the DB Marg police station. To find its actual age, the tooth will undergo an authentication process. According to the officials, the four men have told them about a person from whom they allegedly got the smuggled tooth.