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117 kg meat, animal parts, arms seized from retd colonel`s home

The Indian Express
2 May 2017

At least 117 kg of meat of wild animals, heads and skin of animals, arms and ammunition and cash of around Rs 1 crore were recovered during a raid at the residence of a retired colonel in Meerut. Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Forest Department and Customs and Excise Department raided the house of Colonel (retd) Devendra Kumar at Civil Lines police station area. The joint raid began at 10 am on Saturday morning and continued for about 16 hours.

The DRI has issued a notice to Colonel Kumar’s son Prashant Bishnoi to appear in person at their office in Delhi, said Raj Kumar Digvijay, Additional Director, DRI (Delhi Zonal Unit). Around 25 arms and 50,000 cartridges were recovered from the retired colonel’s home, he added.

Skins of a leopard and black buck, heads of a sambar and a black buck, eight heads of deer including six with antlers, three sambar antlers, seven teeth of wild animals, a knife with ivory handle and frozen wild animal meat in 45 packets weighing 117.5 kg were found, Meerut’s Divisional Forest Official Aditi Sharma said. The flesh will be sent to the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun for tests, she added.

Chief Conservator of Forest, Western Zone (Meerut), Mukesh Kumar said the skins and heads were of endangered species, and that they were looking for Colonel Devendra’s son. He added that they would file a chargesheet under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act. Circle Officer, Civil Lines in Meerut, Ritesh Kumar Singh said that Bishnoi is a national-level shooter and runs a private security agency. He was not present in the house when the raid was conducted, he added. Chief Conservator Kumar said they had learnt that Bishnoi was invited to cull nilgai in Bihar last year.

A DRI press release said that searches were conducted in Delhi and Meerut following interception of three passengers, including a Slovenian national and supplier of arms, at Delhi airport. Around 25 illegal imported weapons were recovered from them. The trio failed to declare the quantity and value of arms and ammunition to the customs department, and tried to clear the items by misusing a scheme meant for renowned shooters, it added.

Professional shooters are allowed to import a limited quantity of arms and ammunition for practice. Searches were later conducted by a DRI team at the residence of members of a syndicate in Delhi and Meerut and over 100 illegal imported firearms and 2 lakh cartridges were seized, stated the release. Six places were searched in Delhi and one in Meerut.