15 turtles rescued from smuggler by UT, PFA

People For Animals (PFA), with the help of the UT Police, on Tuesday arrested Baljinder, a resident of Zirakpur, while he was smuggling 15 turtles. The person was arrested in a trap which was laid against him at the parking lot of Sukhna Lake by Saurav Gupta, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Maneka Gandhi, the Chairperson of PFA.

Talking to Newsline, Gupta said, "We received a tip-off from a Chandigarh-based PFA activist, Chetan Sharma, who informed us about Baljinder. We then approached the Chandigarh Police DIG, seeking his help. Today he was arrested in a trap where he had agreed to show me the turtles on payment of 10 per cent cost price".

The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of UT Police, Alok Kumar, said, "When the PFA activists approached me, the SSP was asked to make a team and take the help of the Wildlife Department as well".

According to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Central, Ashish Kapoor, the accused Baljinder (30) had bought the turtles from Bangkok. He said that the approximate market value of the turtles is Rs 85 lakh.

Baljinder had been under the PFA trap since the last one month. Gupta also said that the call details of the accused have also been sought and will be checked for the nexus.

PFA activists from Delhi, the Chandigarh Wildlife team and the UT Police had trapped the accused at the parking of Sukhna Lake. The deal was finalised at Rs 20 lakh and Gupta, who posed as a customer, had paid the accused Rs 20,000 for checking the turtles.

According to the PFA officials, the turtles are Chitra indica, commonly known as fresh water turtles. These are of the Indian variety. The police has booked Baljinder under Sections 9, 39 and 31 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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