Featured Image: The seized snake venom in glass containers at Belakoba forest range office.
By A Newsman
Siliguri, 15 October: IN a major breakthrough, foresters have confiscated a huge consignment of snake venom believed be worth around Rs 250 crore from Fulbari on the outskirts of Siliguri.
This is the third and largest ever seizure of snake venom in north Bengal in just about a year.
Four persons, who were smuggling the snake venom, have been arrested. They have been identified as Sujoy Kumar Das, Bipul Sarkar, Pintu Banerjee, and Amal Nuniya. The first three are residents of South Dinajpur district, the fourth one is from Malda.
According to Sanjay Dutta, the range officer of Belakoba range under Baikunthapur forest division in Jalpaiguri district, they had got a tip off from Delhi Police about the movement of these snake venom smugglers.
Accordingly, a trap was laid by the foresters who contacted the gang by posing as prospective buyers. As soon as the quartet turned up at pre-designated spot at Fulbari last night, the plain cloth team of foresters nabbed them along with four glass containers filled with snake venom. An imported revolver and four rounds of live bullets were also recovered from them.
The quartet has now been remanded in custody after being produced in Jalpaiguri court today. Following preliminary questioning, the foresters have come to the know that the gang had smuggled in the venom from Bangladesh and then brought the consignment to Siliguri.
This is because a parallel racket buys snake venom in Siliguri and then passes on the same to their counterparts in Nepal for onward transportation to China. The venom is used to manufacture high-priced intoxicants and medicines.
On 31 August last year, foresters had seized three container full snake venom worth Rs 150 crore from Bangshihari in South Dinajpur. On 28 June, the foresters had confiscated another consignment of black Cobra venom worth about Rs 100 crore at Belakoba.