18.1 kg ambergris worth over Rs 30 cr seized from TN coast; 4 including Malayali held

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New Delhi: With the arrest of four people, the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted the ambergris smuggling gang racket and recovered over 18 Kg of ambergris, a by-product of sperm whales, near Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin Sea Coast, an official said on Saturday.

The seized amount of ambergris is valued at around Rs 31.67 crores in the illicit market.

A senior DRI official said that the four arrested persons, who hail from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are actively involved in this smuggling attempt of ambergris.

"They have been remanded under judicial custody," he added.

"Based on specific information that a gang would be attempting to smuggle ambergris out of India through the sea route near the coast of Harbour Beach, Tuticorin to Sri Lanka during the night hours of May 18, DRI Officers intercepted a vehicle along with five persons and recovered 18.1 Kg of ambergris from the front seat of the vehicle," the official added.

Notably, the accused have confessed to the crime.

Ambergris is a product of sperm whales, which is a protected species listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and is thus prohibited for possession/export/transport. Ambergris was thus seized along with the vehicle used for transporting the prohibited item.

Apart from it, DRI released a statement saying, "In the last two years, DRI has seized around 40.52 Kg of ambergris valued at Rs 54 Crores in the international market, attempted to be smuggled out of India from the Tuticorin Coast."

Further investigation is under progress to identify other persons involved in the gang.


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