Cops await court orders
THE FOREST and the police departments await court orders to break open the locks on the residence- cum-laboratory of Brajesh Upadhaya, the man in focus of the wildlife scam that was unearthed here last week.india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 22:23 IST
THE FOREST and the police departments await court orders to break open the locks on the residence- cum-laboratory of Brajesh Upadhaya, the man in focus of the wildlife scam that was unearthed here last week.
Officials fear what was found was just the tip of the iceberg and there could be a much bigger network involved in illegal trade of animal parts.
Hundreds of cobras and the endangered Olive Ridley turtles were found in boxes at the office of a courier company at Sanjay Place on Wednesday. The courier boxes were booked from the Royal Biological Product of Chennai. They were addressed to Braj Scientific Laboratory in Agra.
Raids were conducted on the lab in Kailashpuri, but the wife of the owner Braj Upadhaya said he was out of station.
The wife also left the house overnight. Forest Department officials have now sought permission from a court to beak open the lock at the lab- cum-house.
“Orders are expected next week. This will reveal more about the material stored here,” said Agra DFO SP Yadav.
Forest officials said efforts were on to trace the roots of this network. Already, arrests have been made in Chennai. Flying lizards, starfish, octopus and cobras were found in a Chennai godown.
Six have been arrested here in Agra, including the manager and the staff of the courier company. A case has been registered under relevant provisions of the Wild Life Act.
“All six have been produced in court and remanded in custody till September 29,” said the DFO.
Forest and police officials now seem to be in a mood to lodge a case against laboratory owner Brajesh Upadhaya. Agra is a tourist city and wildlife material, including skin and extracts of snakes, remain an attraction for foreign tourists.
Often purses and other fancy items are made from snakeskin. Some of the emporiums in Agra are suspected to be outlets for such items. There is a sanctuary for reptiles like ‘Gharhiyal’ in the Chambal near Agra.