New Delhi: The government has ordered a CBI
probe into the seizure of 20 kg of tiger parts and skeletons
worth Rs 5 crore from Guwahati airport, which were allegedly
meant for flourishing traditional medicine market in China and
Far East Asia.
Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh has
directed a CBI investigation while expressing concern that
Guwhati in the Northeast has become a major hub for smugglers
to tranship wildlife products to neighbouring countries, as
indicated by frequent seizures.
Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of National Tiger
Conservation Authority (NTCA), said "it is a serious issue
having national and international ramifications. CBI has been
asked to probe into backward and forward linkages thread-bare
in the case.
Since the seizure was made the Customs Department, the
Centre considered the case fit for CBI investigation instead
of handing it over to Assam government.
The huge haul of tiger parts recently as well also a
few months ago from the airport has put a question mark on the
country-wide conservation measures being initiated to save
the big cat in forests.
"Untill the poachers are reined in and demand for tiger
parts is curbed, the big cats in forests would remain
vulnerable, notwithstanding various steps taken for
"This is perhaps the biggest seizure of tiger parts in
recent times," Gopal added.