Mumbai: A 36-year-old man was apprehended from Aarey Market in Goregaon (E) for the possession of 5.56 kg of government-banned ambergris (whale vomit) valued at over ₹15 crore. Police had acted on a tip off and laid a trap on November 24, following which the arrest was made. The accused has been booked under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act. Its demand is in the perfume industry, a original ambergris could cost up to ₹1 crore a kilogram, said officials.
Police said that the accused, identified as Yogesh Joshi, 36, had come to Mumbai from Beed only to sell whale vomit, which is also known as ambergris. Joshi was trapped on the basis of a tip-off from an informer, following which a police team laid a trap near Aarey Market Unit number 5.
When the suspect walked in, a police team intercepted him and found him in custody of a purple-colour tiffin bag in his hand. Upon searching, he was found in possession of 5 kilograms of whale vomit from the tiffin bag. During the probe, it was found that the accused was a pharmacist, a resident of Beed.
Joshi, who has a background in pharmacy, knew where this substance is used and who can buy it. He was looking for the buyer and even got in touch with some people in Mumbai in this regard before coming from Beed. The whale vomit is considered very valuable and is used to make medicine. Police are now trying to trace the person from whom he had bought the ambergris and also to whom he was selling it, said Somnath Gharge, Deputy Commissioner of police zone 12.
An officer said, if the vomit starts to float on the surface of salt-mixed water, then it is considered real. A forest officer who examined the seized vomit, reconfirmed its authenticity. The substance was, however, sent to a forensic lab for further examination.
A case has been registered under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 under sections 44, 51, 2, 39, 57, 49B, 9, and 48A. "The accused produced before a court, which remanded him in police custody for further probe," another official said
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