The city crime branch had seized whale vomit also known as ambergris worth ₹2.7 crore from Mulund in June, however, after a month long investigation into the case the crime branch officials suspected it to be fake and made of chemicals. The crime branch officials pointed out to a new modus of duping people by selling them duplicate ambergris due to its high value.
On June 15, officials of crime branch unit 4 arrested three persons from Mulund who came to Mumbai for selling ambergris.
The forest officials and marine biologist were also part of raid, after checking its waxy nature and its specific odour they confirmed it to be whale vomit. The three identifed as Ramesh Ramji Waghela, 56, Arvind Shah, 63, and Dhanaji Hasmukh Thakur, 52 then arrested under the Wild Life (protection) act, said officials.
Meanwhile, their mastermind Gafar Ansari, 45 and his aide Sharif Bhai, 40 had been arrested by Gujarat police with 5 kilogram of ambergris, they were recently handed over to crime branch.
During questioning Ansari, an antique dealer claimed that the ambergris they were trying to sell wasn't original and was made of chemicals and color was added to dupe people.
Ambergris is a rare substance and due to its specific nature its demands are high in the perfume industry, a original ambergris could fetch upto ₹1 crore for a kilogram.
Being an antique dealer Ansari had a prior knowledge of such cons to dupe people, he was aware that ambergris requires years of curing and since its sale is illegal there has been less chances of anyone complaining against him, as a reason he came out with idea to dupe people by selling them fake ambergris, said a crime branch officer.
Meanwhile, the police have sent the samples to forensic laboratory in Kolkata for chemical analysis to ascertain their claims.