NRI Arrested at Delhi Airport for Trying to Smuggle Wildlife Trophy Out of India: Police

GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 30th March.
 A 60-year-old non-resident Indian was apprehended at the Delhi airport for trying to smuggle a wildlife trophy out of the country, according to police on Friday.

Paljit Singh Paul Lalvani, a resident of New York in the US, was stopped by security personnel at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on March 24 as he was about to board a flight to the US.

A wildlife trophy refers to any body part, like a head or skin, of an animal that has been poached and kept as a souvenir.

The animal in question is believed to be an antelope protected under Scheduled I and II of the Wildlife Protection Act, as per the FIR obtained by PTI.

An FIR was filed against Lalvani by the Delhi Police on March 26 after a complaint was lodged by the Department of Forest and Wildlife.
The incident came to light when Lalvani’s luggage was scanned at the airport, revealing a suspicious item in one of his suitcases, leading to his apprehension.
Initially, Lalvani was charged under the Customs Act, 1962, but the case was later transferred to the Wildlife Department by the duty magistrate at Patiala House Court, who instructed them to file an FIR.

Lalvani was handed over to Customs officials and charged under relevant sections of the Customs Act, 1962.

The FIR, filed by Rajesh Tandon, Deputy Range Officer, West Forest Division, Delhi, highlighted the violation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and urged for an FIR to be registered against Lalvani.

The incident occurred on March 24 when Lalvani was caught by DIAL (Airport Security) trying to take the wildlife trophy out of the country.

Although Lalvani was granted bail under the Customs Acts, the duty magistrate instructed Customs officials to hand over the seized item to the Wildlife Department and inform the SHO of IGI police station to register an FIR.

The FIR emphasized that Lalvani’s actions violated various sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, including Sections 39, 40, 48A, 49, 49B, and 51, which prohibit possession and transportation of trophies of scheduled species without proper authorization.

Additionally, under Section 40, any attempt to export such trophies without the necessary permits is punishable by law.

A senior Delhi Police officer confirmed that a case has been registered under provisions 39, 49, and 51 of the Wild Animal Protection Act, 1972, and a further investigation is underway.

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