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Two held trying to sell red sand boa for Rs1.20 crore

The red sand boa looks like it has two heads because its tail is shaped like a head to confuse its predators

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2019 08:38 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Officials with the rescued red sand boa, a protected species. (HTFile)

The Palghar crime branch had arrested two people on Sunday with a red sand boa snake, a protected species, near Nallasopara railway station where they had come to sell the reptile for around Rs1.20 crore to a buyer. The accused were identified as Shashant Yogesh Mudaliar, 32; and Mohsin Rahim Qureishi, 30, both residents of Dahisar.

Pratap Darade, assistant inspector (API) of local crime branch, Boisar unit, said, “We received a tip-off that the red sand boa was to be sold to an unknown buyer and the accused had come with the snake to sell it. The snake is 4-foot long and weighs around 1.5kg. The value of the snake in the international smuggling market is around Rs1.50 crore and it is smuggled to Malaysia, Nepal, China and other South Asian countries.”

“We arrested the duo at dawn on Sunday under the Wildlife Protection Act,1972 and they were remanded in police custody till May 22 when produced before the Vasai court,” said the officer.

The red sand boa looks like it has two heads because its tail is shaped like a head to confuse its predators. “The snake fetches high value in the black market as it is supposed to have medicinal properties, bring good luck, and prosperity,” Darade said. “The reptiles are in high demand. Its price depends on the weight of the snake;  more the weight, higher the price,” he said.

The officer said they would hand over the snake to the forest department, Palghar division. They would release the reptileshortly in an undisclosed destination in the jungles in Palghar district, which is their natural habitat, he said.

On April 2,the local crime branch, Palghar, had seized two red sand boa snakes from a farm in Manor and two people were arrested for keeping the reptiles as pets.

First Published: May 22, 2019 05:22 IST