The government has ordered a CBI probe into the seizure of 20 kg of tiger parts and skeletons worth Rs 5 crore from Guwhati airport, which were allegedly meant for flourishing traditional medicine market in China and Far East Asia.
Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh has directed a CBI investigation while expressing concern that Guwhati in the Northeast has become a major hub for smugglers to tranship wildlife products to neighbouring countries, as indicated by frequent seizures.
Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said, "It is a serious issue having national and international ramifications. CBI has been asked to probe into backward and forward linkages thread-bare in the case."
Since the seizure was made by the Customs Department, the Centre considered the case fit for CBI investigation instead of handing it over to Assam government.
The huge haul of tiger parts recently as well also a few months ago from the airport has put a question mark on the country-wide conservation measures being initiated to save the big cat in forests.
"Untill the poachers are reined in and demand for tiger parts is curbed, the big cats in forests would remain vulnerable, notwithstanding various steps taken for its safety.
"This is perhaps the biggest seizure of tiger parts in recent times," Gopal added.