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Tiger by the tail, and a fake at that

M.T. Shiva Kumar

Police bust gang selling fake tiger pelts


The gang belongs to a tribal community

Camel teeth were expertly carved to look like the much-prized tigers' teeth


— File Photo

PAPER TIGER?:The gang would dye cattle hide to make it look like real tiger skin (above).

Bangalore: In a well-planned operation on Bangalore-Mysore highway, the Channapatna police arrested two men and said they busted a well-oiled racket in fake forest produce.

Tapping into a certain class's obsession with tiger pelts and nails, the gang had a neat racket going in selling fake tiger pelts, claws and jaws and other forest goods, a senior official at the Ramanagaram police headquarters said.

All fake

The police intercepted a car at Channapatna circle at 4 p.m. Tuesday and confiscated 176 fake tiger pelts manufactured using the hides of cows and calves, 2,000 camel teeth expertly carved to pass off as tigers' teeth and other forest goods. While the police arrested two persons, another three, including two women, managed to give them the slip. The arrests were made by Sub-inspector of police Nandish, attached to the Channapatna Town Police Station, and his team.

Police are interrogating the arrested men, Manoj Kumar Kanmani (28) and car driver C.N. Murthy (35). Manoj's wife Seema, his brother Sameesha and the latter's wife Kanyakumari escaped.

Passport seized

The arrested men belong to a tribal community and are from Tiger Colony, a tiny village in Hunsur. Though outwardly they look poor, Manoj possesses a passport, which has now been seized. In fact, he has toured Bangkok several times. He and his associates had allegedly duped gullible people in different parts of Bangalore, the officer said.

The gang used to purchase skins of cows, calves and buffalos from different villages in the vicinity of Hunsur and by using chemicals and dyes, transformed them to look like tiger skin. They had been running this racket for many years and this is the first time they have been caught.

The arrested men are reported to have told the police they had planned to sell the fake tiger pelts to shops situated in the vicinity of Channapatna and an amusement park near Bidadi. But police suspect they were planning to courier them to foreign clientele.

The police plan to send the pelts to the Forest Department for further tests. Should any of the pelts turn out to be the real thing, the police will also file a case under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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