2 elephant tusks seized, 11 wildlife criminals held in Odisha’s Rourkela

Bhubaneswar: Wildlife wing of the Forest department has seized two elephant tusks while conducting a raid at a village under Rourkela Forest Division, officials said today.

At least 11 persons were arrested by the Wildlife wing for their involvement in the illegal trade of elephant tusks, said the Forest department.

On a tip-off, a team of Rourkela Forest division raided the house of Rameswar Nayak (51) at Badgaon under Banki forest range yesterday. The officials seized two elephant tusks weighing around 3 kg from Nayak’s resident during the search.

Nayak and his aides Biraja Munda (40), Khageswar Mahanta (40), Prakash Chandra Mahakud (39), Suguda Hembram (34), Ramchandra Patra (61), Satyanand Patra (51), Pritikanta Mahanta (27) and Ranjan Mahanta (48) were arrested by the Wildlife team during the raid.

After interrogating Nayak and his aides, the officials came to know about the involvement of two more persons–Jashobant Patra (58) of Keonjhar and Bidyadhar Patra (48) of Mayurbhanj–in the illegal trade of elephant tusks.

The duo was later arrested by the Wildlife wing. All the 11 wildlife offenders have been booked under Sections 9, 39, 44 and 49 (B) of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The accused will be produced in a local court soon, officials said.

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