In a first of it’s kind case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) 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.
The investigation was taken up by the ED on the basis of information received from the Wildlife department, Government of West Bengal, regarding seizure of prohibited wildlife under Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 from Supradip Guha of Kolkata.
The state Wildlife department had filed a complaint under Section 9, 39, 44, 48, 49 read with Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 against Supradip Guha in a local court for illegal possession of prohibited Indian wildlife.
Subsequently, a complaint was also filed by the state Wildlife department against Supradip Guha with police and an FIR was registered against him by the West Bengal Police for forgery and using forged documents as genuine ones.
Supradip Guha was found using a forged permission letter to illegally transport wildlife birds purportedly issued by the PCCF, Wildlife 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 wildlife authorities to evade action, both under Customs as well as wildlife laws,” the ED said.
“Guha also obtained fake certificates regarding birth of the three Chimpanzees in India. Based on facts revealed during investigation, the above wildlife has been provisionally attached, the ED said.
The three Chimpanzees and Marmosets are now being kept with the Alipore Zoological Garden, Kolkata. Earlier, the zoo authorities had requested action from the 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 using false statements and documents.
The ED also claimed that the attachment has enabled the zoo authorities to keep the wildlife animals with them. The three Chimpnazees are a major point of attraction for all the visitors in the zoo.