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Indian star tortoises are a vulnerable wildlife species and prohibited for export. (FILE PHOTO)
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized 834 Indian star tortoises meant for smuggling to Bangladesh, an official statement issued on Friday said.
On the basis of inputs that a consignment of Indian star tortoises is being brought from Chennai onboard the Coromondel express train and would be handed over to a group of people at the Santragachi railway station in Kolkata, officials of the DRI improved surveillance at the station on Monday.
At around noon, a few minutes after the Coromondel express arrived at the station, officials said they spotted some suspicious movement of three people trying to hurriedly load four trolley bags in a car at the parking area.
The officials stopped the vehicle along with the three persons.
During interrogation, the persons admitted that the trolley bags contained Indian star tortoises and were handed over to them by a passenger of that train. The trio was supposed to carry the bags to Banipur from where they would be smuggled out to Bangladesh, the statement added.
On a thorough search, the officials found 834 number of Indian star tortoises, a vulnerable wildlife species and prohibited for export under the Indian Foreign Trade Policy.
The seized tortoises were handed over to Alipore Zoological Garden in Kolkata for safe custody.
The three people were arrested under provisions of the Customs Act.