Ivory Smuggling: DMK Leader Arrested
In a covert operation in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu, the Mahalakshmi Layout police on Wednesday busted an ivory smuggling racket and arrested a gang of five men led by Khader Basha, who is believed to be a functionary of the DMK party. The six men are suspected of poaching elephants and other wildlife in Tamil Nadu and selling products, like tusks, in Karnataka. The police seized 12 tusks from the gang.
Acting on a tip-off, a police team posed as prospective clients and approached Naveen and Prakash who were in Bengaluru to sell elephant tusks. When the duo agreed to sell four tusks, they were promptly arrested with the poached goods.
On questioning them, the police learned that they were part of a larger gang that operated out of Krishnagiri district. “We learned that the leader of the gang was Khader Basha from Anchetty,” said the police.
On Wednesday, a special team led by Inspector B.N. Lohith went to Basha’s house in Anchetty. However, local residents tried to prevent his arrest. “Basha rallied DMK party workers in his hometown and tried to resist arrest by organising a mob,” said an officer who was part of the team.
The angry mob surrounded the police team and threatened to attack them if they did not release Basha. The team had to seek the help of their Tamil Nadu counterparts who rushed to the spot and dispersed the agitated mob.
Another team raided the houses of three of his associates — Javed, Shabarinath and Satish Kumar — in Dharmapuri district. They recovered four tusks sawed in half.
Basha and the other three accused were brought to Bengaluru and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and also under the Wildlife Protection Act.
“Our initial probe has revealed that Basha is the kingpin of the racket. He ran a gang that would poach animals in the forests of Krishnagiri and Hosur districts,” said a senior police officer. The police are investigating if the gang has a place to illegally store wildlife products meant for sale in the black market.