In a first of its kind case, the Enforcement Directorate has attached three Chimpanzees and four Marmosets in connection to a money laundering case. The value of each of the Chimpanzees has been assessed to be Rs 25,00,000 and that of a marmoset to be Rs 1,50,000, thereby the attachment order has been issued for a value of Rs 81,00,000, said the officials.
Investigation was taken up by the ED on the basis of information received from the Wild Life Department, Government of West Bengal, regarding seizure of prohibited Wildlife under Indian Wildlife protection Act 1972 from Supradip Guha of Kolkata. The Wild Life Department, West Bengal had filed a complaint under section 9, 39, 44, 48, 49 read with section 51 of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972 against Supradip Guha in a local court for illegal possession of prohibited Indian Wild Life. Subsequently a complaint was also filed by the Wild Life Department, WB against Supradip Guha with Police and an FIR was registered against Supradip Guha by the West Bengal Police for forgery and using forged documents as genuine one as he was found using a forged permission letter to illegally transport the wild life birds purportedly issued by the PCCF, Wild Life and Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal.
"Investigation under PMLA revealed that Supradip Guha is running an organised wildlife smuggling racket. He is a clever criminal and recorded contradictory statements before the Customs Authorities and The Wild Life Authorities to evade action both under Customs as well as Wild Life laws. He also obtained fake certificates regarding birth of the three Chimpanzees in India. Based on above facts revealed during investigation the above wildlife has been provisionally attached," said the ED.
The three Chimpanzees and Marmosets are now kept with the Alipore Zoological Garden, Kolkata. Earlier the Zoo authorities had requested action from ED to enable them to retain the wild animals.
According to financial probe agency, Supradip Guha was attempting to take back the Wildlife from the Zoo Authorities by claiming right over them by using false statements and documents as aforesaid however the actions by ED has frustrated his efforts.
The ED also claims that this attachment has enabled the Zoo Authorities to keep the wild life animals with them. The three Chimpnazees are a major point of attraction for all the visitors in the Zoo and thus a source of revenue for the Zoo. The action by the ED will deter the Wild Life dealers in indulging into illegal trade of the Wild Life.