In coordinated raids carried out by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Wild Life Department and local police, a big organised racket of poaching, illegal wildlife hunting and arms trafficking has been unearthed in Meerut. Raids have been carried out at the residence of a retired army colonel.
A team of DRI officials conducted a 17-hour-long joint raid, they reached the Civil Lines residence of Colonel (retd) Devindra Kumar on Saturday in the afternoon and the raid continued till 3:30 AM. The army officer's son Prashant Bishnoi, a national level shooter, is under the scanner.
A DRI official said the raid was conducted in connection with a disproportionate assets case. Licensed and illegal 40 weapons, around 50000 cartridges, Rs 1 crore in cash and skin and carcass of a leopard, blackbuck and extinct animals have been seized. Antlers, bones and ivory tusk were also found.
Around 117 kilogram of meat said to be of Nilgai, blue bull, found in a freezer was also taken in custody. The meat found was filled in 45 packets. The seized sample will be sent to wild life institute in Dehradun for forensic examination.
Apart from that, authorities also recovered 15 stuffed sambhar deer and a blackbuck.
Chief Conservator of Forests Mukesh Kumar said: "The meat of blue bull was seized from a refrigerator. A sample was taken and it will be sent to laboratory for testing." Action will be taken against the retired army officer and Bishnoi under relevant provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 though no case has been registered against them yet, he said.
Bishnoi had participated in the 60th national shooting championship last November and stood 65th. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has designated him as a "renowned" shooter, thus giving him license to two weapons of 12 bore each. Bishnoi was also part of a "hunting team" that went to Bihar.
It has also been alleged that a foreign national is involved in this racket. DRI is investigating the wildlife poaching racket and gunrunning racket which involves foreigners and high profile individuals.