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Cops bust venom racket in Maharashtra, seize 72 snakes

Acting on a tip off, police officials on Monday raided a rented flat near Pune and recovered 41 Russell’s vipers and 31 cobras...

mumbai Updated: Dec 29, 2016 09:24 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times
Cobras rescued by officers from Pune rural police. (HT Photo)

The Pune rural police seized 72 snakes that included Russell’s vipers and cobras from a flat, busting a racket involved in snake venom business. Following the seizure, the police arrested two persons with snake venom.

Acting on a tip off, police officials on Monday raided a flat near Chakan, some 40km from Pune, and recovered 41 Russell’s vipers and 31 cobras from Ranjit Kharage’s flat, which he had taken on rent.

Cops said the accused would buy the reptile from snake catchers. ( HT Photo )

The police suspect that snakes were kept to extract and sell venom.

“The police found these reptiles in wooden boxes in one of the rooms of the flat. When we raided the flat, Kharage was not there and his children knew there were snakes in the wooden boxes,” said police inspector Santosh Giri Gosavi.

Officials said that they also recovered 30ml venom in a bottle.

“Our investigations have discovered that Kharage, along with one Dhanaji Belkute, would procure the snakes from snake catchers. They were used to extract venom, which the duo would sell,” said Giri Gosavi.

According to the police, there have been past cases against Kharge for smuggling snake venom.

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