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Mumbai police rescue red sand boa, arrest gang trying to sell it for ₹20 lakh in Dadar

Fourth such case reported in past two months; snake fetches high value in black market as it is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity

mumbai Updated: Dec 13, 2017 20:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
The police will hand over the reptile to the forest department.

Officers of the Mumbai crime branch’s property cell on Tuesday rescued a red sand boa snake — a protected species — from a gang that had smuggled it to Mumbai to be sold for Rs 20 lakh, and arrested the three accused.

This is the fourth such case reported in the past two months.

Officers cracked down after they got a tip-off that three men had bought the reptile from Akkalkua in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district, and were getting it to the city.

The officers said the red sand boa looks like it has two heads because its tail is shaped like a head to help it defend itself. The snake fetches high value in the black market as it is supposed to bring good luck, prosperity and is used during rituals to invoke rain or pray for money. “It is also believed that the heavier the snake, the more riches it will bring. So black market dealers force the snake to swallow heavy objects such as ball bearings and other things. These reptiles die a very painful death,” said an officer, requesting anonymity.

The police caught the three men when they were waiting for buyers near Dadar, and are now trying to find out who was planning to buy the sand boa.

The police said one of the accused told them that he was selling the snake as he needs money for his daughter’s wedding. “The accused bought the snake from a farm in Akkalkua for Rs 3 lakh and paid another Rs 2 lakh to an agent who introduced the accused to the buyers,” the officer added.

The police will hand over the reptile to the forest department.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 15:00 IST