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Cuffs again on wildlife trader

Supratik Guha, who was arrested for allegedly trading in endangered animals and birds and released on bail, was arrested again on Thursday evening on the charge of possesing a forged transit permit.

The state forest and wildlife department issues transit permits to registered traders for transportation of birds that are not endangered. Such permits are valid for two to three days.

Guha was arrested after a team comprising officials of the customs department and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau had on January 22 rescued three baby chimpanzees and five marmosets from his Baguiati home.

Officials said the animals were smuggled from Africa and Brazil through Hong Kong and Bangladesh.

A week later, while Guha was still in custody, close to 250 birds were rescued from his home. Among the rescued birds were the oriental pied hornbill (Indian), and Amazon parrot, blue yellow macaw, grey parrot and the red green parrot (all foreign).

Under the Wildlife Act 1972, trading or keeping in captivity any endangered species is a non-bailable office.

Guha was released on bail after his father passed away.

Senior officials in the forest department said the transit permit Guha had submitted to the customs department, in an attempt to prove that he was carrying out a legal trade, was never issued to him.

“He had acquired a permit from somebody and forged it in his name. This way he managed to run the illegal trade for several years,” said an official of the forest department.

Guha also apparently told wildlife department officials that he had been trading in animals for over two decades and close to 100 men were working working for him across the city.