The Bazarpeth police arrested two people in possession of a tiger skin worth Rs10 lakh in Kalyan on Wednesday.
The two, Kiran Savle, 43, and Ramzan Siddhiqui, 19, are residents of Mumbai. Ramzan works as a mobile repairer in Ghatkopar and Kiran is unemployed, said the police.
The two came to Kalyan with the tiger skin in a schoolbag. The local police, having received a tip-off, arrived at Aadharwadi Road around 7pm and arrested them.
“The international market value of the tiger skin goes up to Rs50 lakh. The accused initially planned to sell the skin for that amount but later reduced the cost after they were told that Kalyan locals would not spend that much on a single tiger skin,” said Nilesh Dasale, additional police inspector, Bazarpeth police station.
“The forest department told us that the seized skin belongs to a tiger. We have sent it to a forensic lab. The reports are awaited. The accused had come to Kalyan to sell the skin as they were scared of committing such an act in Mumbai. Savle told us he got the skin from a friend who stays at Satara. The investigation is ongoing,” he added.
A police team was sent to Satara to trace the man who gave Savle the skin.
“We are investigating to ascertain whether Savle’s friend is involved in smuggling tiger skins. We suspect that there are more people involved in this illegal racket in Satara,” he said.
“We were alerted by the police. We helped them register the case and are on the lookout for suspicious activities under our jurisdiction,” said S Khedekar, Range, forest officer, Kalyan division.
Both the accused were arrested under sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and sections of the Indian Penal Code.