Over 70 snakes, mostly deadly Russell's vipers and cobras illegally kept for extracting venom, have been seized from a residential apartment in Pune where a man was living with his wife and children.
Ranjit Kharage (37) was arrested along with his alleged accomplice, identified as Dhananjay Belkute (30), for allegedly keeping the snakes in wooden boxes and gunny bags for extracting and selling venom, police said on Tuesday.
The seizure was made on Monday from the rented apartment of Kharage, where he was living with his family.
We recovered 41 Russell’s vipers and 31 cobras from one of the rooms in the flat and investigations have revealed that the duo allegedly extracted venom from these reptiles and used to sell or smuggle it.Chakan Police Station Inspector
A case has been registered against the duo under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, he said.
According to police, they received a tip-off on Sunday that snakes were being kept in a flat in the outskirts of Chakan, following which a team of police raided the place.
When we went there, Kharage was not at home. However, his wife and children were present. We found that the snakes were kept in wooden boxes and gunny bags in the flat and even the children knew about it.Chakan Police Station Inspector
Since it was dark, the search team evicted the occupants, locked the house and the next morning, all snakes were seized.
Investigations revealed that the duo used to get snakes from jungles and even from snake catchers in the area for venom extraction and smuggling.Chakan Police Station Inspector
Police also found some venom stored in small bottles. All the seized snakes would be handed over to forest officials, police added.