THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three more arrests have been recorded on Sunday by the forest department in connection with the elephant poaching case. The arrested persons include the notorious goon in the city, Aji Bright. Bright is said to be the alleged kingpin of the illegal ivory trade across the state. He was arrested from his residence at Sreekaryam. The other two arrested, who are said to be the close aides of Bright, were identified as Vijayan and Mill Ani.
The sleuths from the forest intelligence and flying squad also seized 45 kilograms of ivory artifacts that include the figurines of Hindu deities. According to the officials, the seized items would cost crores in the international market. “Bright had been absconding ever since we began a search for him. He is currently on the upper rungs of the notorious elephant poaching syndicate in the country. It is also learnt that he was affiliated to similar rackets in countries like Nepal, China and Sri Lanka”, the sources said. A top official from the forest department added that more arrests would be recorded in connection with the case in the coming days. With the arrest, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 12. The officials arrested nine persons last Friday and Saturday from Balaramapuram and Chacka and seized several artifacts and ivory idols.
The accused were brought to Kodanad forest division on Sunday for collecting evidence. It is suspected that the items were brought to the capital city in order to smuggle it to foreign countries including Dubai and China. Ivory was also said to be brought here from Athirappilly, Vazhachal and Idamalayar forest ranges.
With the reports of rampant elephant poaching, the forest department had appointed a high-level team under the Chief Wild life Warden to investigate into the issue. The state-wide raid was launched in the wake of reports that at least 37 wild elephant were killed for ivory in the last 10 years.