Sea cucumber smuggling case: ED conducts search operation at kingpin’s premises in Tamil Nadu - SARKARI JOB INDIAN

Sea cucumber smuggling case: ED conducts search operation at kingpin’s premises in Tamil Nadu

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday (August 9) conducted a search operation at various premises of Villayutham, alleged kingpin of sea cucumber smuggling in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. The case involves serious environmental crime i.e. smuggling sea cucumber, an endangered species along Sri Lankan border.

Known as the ‘cleaners of the sea,’ sea cucumbers play a vital role in maintaining health of the marine ecosystem. Sea cucumbers, also called as Holothurians, are marine endangered species. They are an important constituent of the coral ecosystem in the Gulf of Mannar. The product Beche-de-mer derived from processed sea cucumbers is commercially important and considered as a delicacy in China, Japan and Korea. Besides, sea cucumbers are known to have aphrodisiac qualities and pharmacological properties.

​In 2001, the Government of India included all species of sea cucumbers under Schedule-I category of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and totally banned their collection. These animals have also been protected under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 

ED initiated investigation on the basis of 13 FIRs/Wild life cases filed against Villayutham. The residential premises of Villayutham, Hotel Raamajeyam owned by him at Rameshwaram were searched on August 9 by the ED. The operations resulted in seizure of a large number of sale deeds, cash receipts, cheque books and other incriminating documents. Sale deeds, papers and other documents seized during the search operation revealed the value of the assets of Villayutham to be around Rs. 5 Crore.

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