Sea cucumbers worth Rs 50L seized at Tuticorin, 3 held

35

The Forest Department of Tamil Nadu on Thursday seized 750 kg processed and semi-processed sea cucumbers worth Rs 50 lakh in the international market from a seafood-making unit near Tuticorin and arrested three persons in connection with the case.

The arrested persons have been identified as K. Senthil Kumar (48), A. Sathikbatcha (35), and Nanthakumar (21). The trio was planning to take the sea cucumbers to Vedalai in Ramanathapuram district and smuggle them to Sri Lanka by boat from there.

A special squad was on night patrol when a pungent smell drew their attention at around 1.30 am, a senior official told mediapersons.

The team then raided VFS enterprises, which deals with seafood, and found sea cucumbers being boiled in large vessels. The police said that Senthil Kumar is a second-time offender who was earlier detained for trying to smuggle sea cucumbers.

They were engaged by habitual offenders, Meera Shah and Mansoor Ali, who have five-six cases registered against them for sea cucumber smuggling, and the owner of the food processing company, Vijayakumar.

All of them have been booked under relevant sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Search is on to nab Mansoor Ali, Vijayakumar and Meera Shah, who are on the run.

Sea cucumbers are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad. They are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, giving them the same level of protection as tigers and making poaching them illegal.

20211210-000014

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here