In news that you may find hard to believe but is actually true, three chimpanzees and four marmoset monkeys have been “provisionally attached” in an investigation into a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate. They are being held at Kolkata’s Alipore Zoo.An investigation by the ED into a wildlife smuggling racket has led to this “first of its kind” attachment under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).In the provisional attachment order, each chimpanzee has been valued at Rs 25 lakh and each marmoset at Rs 1.5 lakh. The combined worth of the attached “proceeds of the crime” is, therefore, Rs 81 lakh.Moin Qureshi Case: ED Attaches Delhi Farmhouse, Bikaner FortWhat is the Investigation About?A man named Supradip Guha is being investigated for running a wildlife smuggling racket.The Wildlife Wing of the West Bengal government’s Forest Department had received information that Guha was in possession of wildlife prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The department filed a police complaint thereafter.Subsequently, the state police also booked Guha for forgery as he was found using a forged permission letter to illegally transport the wildlife. The fake letter had been created as being issued by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal. ED took over the case under PMLA based on this police FIR.“He is a clever criminal and recorded contradictory statements before the Customs authorities and the wildlife authorities, to evade action both under Customs as well as wildlife laws. He has also obtained fake certificates regarding birth of the three chimpanzees in India.”Enforcement DirectorateAccording to ED, Guha had attempted to take back the animals from the zoo authorities by using forged documents, to claim his right over them. His ploy, however, went in vain.Wildlife Sanctuaries at Risk: 13 Rly Projects Exempt From ApprovalWhat Next for the ‘Attached’ Animals?The chimpanzees and marmosets are currently being kept at the Alipore Zoological Garden in Kolkata, under the care of the zoo authorities.According to a statement by the Enforcement Directorate, the “attached” chimpanzees have become a major attraction at the Alipore Zoo.The zoo authorities had earlier requested the ED to enable them to retain the animals. Thanks to the attachment order, they are currently able to do that.The ED concluded its press statement with the hope that this case proves to be a deterrent to people engaging in illegal trade of wildlife.(With inputs from PTI)How Climate Change Is Making Human-Wildlife Conflicts Worse We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.