Prayagraj STF rescues 741 turtles, arrests three smugglers - Hindustan Times
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Prayagraj STF rescues 741 turtles, arrests three smugglers

By, Prayagraj
Dec 09, 2023 10:36 PM IST

An FIR has been registered against the accused at Nawabganj police station under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Indian Forest Act, as stated by STF officials.

In a major breakthrough, a team under Prayagraj unit of Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) nabbed three smugglers and rescued 741 turtles of a protected species that were being smuggled to West Bengal on Friday night. The rescued turtles were handed over to forest department officials to be released into a suitable river.

For representation only (HT FILE PHOTO)
For representation only (HT FILE PHOTO)

An FIR has been registered against the accused at Nawabganj police station under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Indian Forest Act, as stated by STF officials.

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The deputy Superintendent of police (DySP), STF, Navendu Kumar said that the STF has been acting against turtle smuggling in UP for many years, following the initiative of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau—a statutory body established by the government of India under the ministry of environment, forest, and climate change to combat organised wildlife crime.

India is home to 29 species of turtles classified based on soft or hard shells, with 15 found in Uttar Pradesh. Out of these, 11 species are targeted by smugglers for their meat and calipee—a fatty gelatinous light-yellow substance found immediately over the lower shell of a turtle—considered a delicacy and also used for preparing certain medicines.

“Acting on a tip-off regarding a gang of smugglers attempting to transport turtles in a Bolero pick-up mini-truck from Lucknow to West Bengal, a team of STF along with forest officials laid a trap near the Nawabganj toll plaza. The officials spotted a Bolero Pick-up coming from Lucknow, which was stopped and searched around 8.30 pm, resulting in the discovery of 741 turtles kept in 27 sacks hidden under bundles of hay and animal feed,” said DySP STF Navendu Kumar.

The three persons in the vehicle, identified as Shani and Suraj from Gandhinagar Palpur area of Amethi and Adarsh Singh from Kamipur village of Barabanki, presently living in Rae Bareli, were arrested and formally charged with smuggling, he added.

During interrogation, the trio revealed that they had procured the turtles from three persons in Jagdishpur area of Amethi identified as Salman, Akbar and Phool Mohammad and were to be sold in West Bengal. Efforts to arrest these three individuals are also underway, the DySP further added.

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