Raipur: Chhattisgarh police have rescued
seven of the eight rare Brazilian monkeys (marmosets) stolen
from a Kolkata zoo early this month and arrested one person
from Durg district in connection with the sensational case.
Rajesh Saikia alias Raj, hailing from Guwahati, was
arrested last evening by crime branch sleuths near Khursipar
gate, 40 kms from here, Superintendent of Police, Durg,
Deepanshu Kabra said today, adding police were investigating
whether he had links with any international racket involved in
smuggling of rare animals.
Police rescued seven of the eight monkeys stolen from
Alipore Zoo on August eight. Rajesh told the police that one
of the monkeys had died and he had buried the body. The
carcass has also been recovered, the official said.
Following a tip off, crime branch sleuths posed as
traders who were interested in buying the rare monkeys, which
are in high demand for zoological research due to their
genetic proximity to human beings, and met Rajesh who agreed
to sell the animals.
The deal was sealed after they agreed to pay Rs 10
lakh for each of the seven monkeys, the SP said, adding Rajesh
was nabbed when he came to collect the money.
During interrogation, Rajesh claimed that another
person Babui Bangali was also involved in the illegal trade.
"The West Bengal police have been informed and we have
sent our team to nab Bangali," Kabra said.
Police are questioning Rajesh, who was in the past
arrested in Pune for stealing a rare species of bird. It is
being probed whether he has links to any international gang
involved in smuggling of animals, the SP said.
Following the sensational theft, the West Bengal
government suspended zoo director Subir Choudhury. Three
persons-- an employee of the zoo and two private guards,
in-charge of night security outside the enclosure of the
marmoset-- were arrested.
Kolkata police had also announced a cash reward of
Rs 50,000 to anyone giving information on the stolen monkeys.
In India, these rare monkeys can only be seen at the
Kolkata zoo and in Mysore. Altogether 16 Brazilian monkeys
were brought to Alipore zoo in 2001 but some of them perished
after failing to adjust to the weather conditions.