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Three held for trade of animal parts, horns worth 1.5 cr seized (Oct)

 
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 16th October, 2013
 
Three men, who were allegedly part of a gang engaged in smuggling body parts of endangered wildlife animals, have been arrested and horns of various species of deer worth 1.5 crore in the international market recovered from them, police said. 
 
Jitender Kumar (31), Vinit Khanna (48) and Gopal Awasthi (46) were arrested by the Crime Branch of Delhi police under the Wild Life Protection Act 1972. Police also recovered 48 horns of Chital and Sambar (15 kg) from their possession. Two cars, which were used by them, have also been seized from them. 
 
"An input was received that one Jitender of Saharanpur is involved in the illegal trading of body parts of prohibited wildlife animals. Following this lead, a specific tip-off was received that he along with one Delhite Vineet Khanna would be coming near Patpar Ganj area to sell the derivatives of endangered animals, following which a trap was laid," said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav. 
 
At around 2:30 pm, one car stopped near Saraswati Kunj Apartments, Narwana Road and the informer identified them as Jitender Kumar and Vinit Khanna. Meanwhile, another car arrived on the spot whose occupant was identified as Gopal Awasthi, police said. 
 
"After a brief discussion, Vinit Khanna and Jitender opened the dickey of one and showed a bag to Gopal Awasthi. After checking the bag, Vinit Khanna and Jitender shifted the bag to the car of Gopal Awasthi. At this point, the police team nabbed the trio," said Yadav. 
 
On search of the bag in one of the cars, 48 horns were found which were identified by Wild Life Inspectors as horns of Chital and Sambar Deer, he said. 
 
During interrogation, Jitender allegedly told police that he got these horns from one Puran Singh of Chak Haredi village in Saharanpur. 
 
Jitender came in contact with Puran through one Shiv Mohan Sharma as both were insurance agents. Shiv Mohan Sharma introduced him to Puran Singh for the purpose of selling these horns. The greed of easy money lured Jitender into striking a deal with Puran and he took along the horns and contacted his friend Vinit Khanna, police said. 
 
"Khanna was known to Jitender for the last 4-5 months in the context with some property dealing. He had recently suffered huge losses in his Dhup Agarbatti Factory and he was in search of earning quick bucks to recoup the losses. 
 
"Vinit further contacted Gopal Awasthi who was his partner in property business to find some suitable buyer of these prohibited but costly wildlife articles," said Yadav. 
 
A case has been registered and further investigations are on to find out to whom they intended to sell these horns to, police said.