Delhi Undercover Sting nets almost Half Tonne of Ivory

©IFAW
Tuesday, 13 October, 2015
Delhi, India

A covert operation into a suspected illegal ivory trade kingpin has netted its largest haul of elephant ivory yet, 487 kgs of ivory seized from a house in Delhi.

Signifying yet further success for “Operation Shikar”, conducted by law enforcers from Kerala State Forest Department, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and Delhi Police, the seizure will provide vital evidence in the prosecution of Umesh Aggrawal who was arrested on 2 October.

Much needed technical and field support to the Kerala State Forest Department from the start of the investigation was provided by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Aggrawal is suspected to be the kingpin of an illegal ivory trade network as the main buyer of ivory and maker of various artifacts. This came to light from the detailed analysis of call records of middlemen and poachers from Kerala State, where wild elephants were poached. Several cases have been opened against him.

Enforcers said Aggrawal had confessed to concealing ivory and ivory articles in a rented room in East Delhi, providing them with a sketch of the location and marking the building in which he kept the ivory and ivory articles. The owners of the house were unaware of the true contents of the boxes stored in the room, believing them to be plastic items.

The ivory was seized on Sunday.

The IFAW-WTI team member who assisted enforcement agencies during the operation said: “Delhi police provided exceptional support to the entire operation and ensured that the team got much needed protection and operational support.  We will ensure legal support to the case through our expert lawyers to ensure pro-conservation judgments in this case”. 

Aggrawal’s involvement in the illegal trade of ivory is thought to date to the 90s. His company “Art of India” deals in exporting artifacts from India to other countries and mixed ivory and ivory articles along with sandstone and resin statues to avoid detection. The company also openly manufactured and displayed articles which looked and felt like ivory and displayed them in various art exhibitions to attract customers seeking genuine ivory products. 

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

 

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