The volunteers of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals (SPCA) on Saturday apprehended a Haryana resident, identified as Sukhpal, who deals in lion skins and nails, and have recovered four lion nails from him, which were meant for sale in the city.
The accused, during questioning by the police later, revealed that his business was spread in other parts of the country. However, the lion skins that the accused was suspected to be possessing, could not be recovered from him as he claimed that the consignment was lying in Delhi and was expected to arrive in Amritsar in the coming few days.
“As many as four lion nails have been recovered from the accused,” said Ravi Bhagat, Amritsar deputy commissioner, who is also chairman of the SPCA.
“The accused revealed that one lion nail costs Rs. 10,000. He was brought to the SPCA office, where the four lion nails were recovered from his possession,” said the DC.
“Considering the enormity of the matter, the police were informed about the matter and they reached the spot to question the accused, who revealed that his network and business was spread up to Delhi and Kolkata,” he said.
He added that the accused has claimed that the consignment of lion skins was lying in Delhi and could be recovered from there.
Surinder Kewlani, an executive member of the SPCA, said that the accused was staying at a hotel near the bus stand and was nabbed during a raid conducted by the SPCA members following a tip-off received by them that the accused, who possessed lion skins and nails, was in the city and was looking for clients to sell them to.
Meanwhile, wildlife experts revealed that the lion nails, which are used mainly for manufacturing Chinese medicine, are sold for Rs. 2500 per kg while the lion fur (skin) costs around Rs. 5 lakh in the international market.
They expressed apprehensions that the lion nails could have been smuggled from Pakistan and urged the district administration and the police to take the matter seriously and investigate it thoroughly.