Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officers have seized 18.1 kilogram ambergris at Tuticorin coast valued at Rs 31.67 crore in the illicit market and busted a smuggling racket, the finance ministry said on Saturday.
Ambergris is a product of sperm whale, which is a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and is thus prohibited for possession/export/transport.
Based on information that a gang would be attempting to smuggle ambergris out of India through the sea route near the coast of Harbour Beach, Tuticorin to Sri Lanka, DRI officers intercepted a vehicle along with five persons and recovered 18.1 kg of ambergris from the front seat of the vehicle.
Four persons from Kerala and Tamil Nadu actively involved in this smuggling attempt of ambergris were arrested and remanded under judicial custody, the statement said.
DRI in its endeavour to protect and safeguard the flora and fauna from such smuggling attempts has intensified its vigil and surveillance in the coastal areas.
In the last two years, DRI has seized around 40.52 kg of ambergris valued at Rs 54 crore in the international market, attempted to be smuggled out of India from the Tuticorin coast.
Sale and possession of ambergris, mostly used for making perfume, is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act.
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