Bhubaneswar, Dec 20 (LocalWire) The Special Task Force (STF) of crime branch of Odisha police has sought information from Myanmar government about their four citizens for alleged link with pangolin smuggling racket in the state.
This is the first time that the STF had officially moved a foreign country to investigate alleged international link of a wildlife trafficking racket, official sources said.
After a pangolin smuggling racket was busted in Dasapalla in Nayagarh district, a court in the district had issued a letter rogatory (LR) in June 2018 which was sent to Myanmar via CBI, which is the nodal agency in the country to seek assistance of Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) for crime investigation abroad.
Four citizens from Myanmar were found to be in nexus with five pangolin smugglers arrested in Nayagarh last year and five pangolin scales was seized from their possession, sources said.
In the LR, the STF wanted to know from Myanmar the criminal antecedents of their four nationals in question.
The FIR copy, case details, probe findings, statements of the accused and evidence of their links with the four Myanmar nationals have been sent “We have sought permission from to allow us to interrogate the suspects and once we get permission, we will send a team to Myanmar for investigation,” the sources said.
Pangolin poaching and smuggling is a punishable offence and violates sections-9, 39 and 49 (B) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The STF had arrested over a dozen smugglers in last over one a half years in connection with pangolin smuggling besides arrest of poachers and middlemen in the state.
Meanwhile, to encourage the people to inform the forest personnel about the pangolin smugglers, the Athagarh forest division had announced cash reward of Rs 10,000 for whistle-blowers.