2 men arrested for selling genitalia of monitor lizards in Gurugram
Two men, including an astrologer, were arrested from two different places for allegedly possessing eight pieces of hatha jodi (dried genitalia of male monitor lizards) and two pieces of Trochus niloticus (protected seashells) on Saturday, said the police. The monitor lizard is a protected species under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
According to the police, the suspects were allegedly selling these items from a shop in Sector 15 and an office in Sector 45. They also used to sell such items through online portals.
Subhash Yadav, district forest officer, Gurugram, said, a team consisting of officials of the Haryana forest department, the Haryana Police, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Wildlife Trust of India was formed after a tip was received about the whereabouts of the suspects. The team conducted two consecutive raids in the early hours of Saturday.
The suspected men were identified as Anil Kumar Ahlawat, an astrologer who used to operate from Sector 45, and Daan Veer Bhardwaj alias Acharya Dan Veer Shastri, who used to run an office providing astrological solutions in Sector 15. The team first arrested Ahlawat, and later following his lead, searched the office premises of Bhardwaj, said the police.
The police said the team seized eight pieces of hatha jodi and two pieces of Trochus niloticus from the office of Ahlawat. Additionally, 120 pieces of Trochus niloticus were recovered from Bhardwaj’s shop.
Yadav said, “The wildlife crime control bureau was tracking the men for the past several weeks and had shared tips with us based on which a raid was conducted. We are suspecting that there are more people involved in this illegal trade,” he said. Yadav added the suspects used to sell the genitalia for Rs 8,700 a piece and buy them for Rs 1,500 a piece. “They used to buy these items from snake catchers in Rajasthan,” he said.
The suspects were sent to judicial remand on Saturday after being produced before the district and sessions court, said the police. A case under sections 9, 39, 44, 49, 50, 51 and 55 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 was registered at the Sector 40 police station on Saturday morning.
Officials said sale, purchase, possession of the banned wildlife items are punishable offences, for which one can face a prison term of three to seven years, along with a fine of Rs 10,000 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.