Athagarh: The kingpin of pangolin smuggling in Odisha, Madhab Chandra Patra, has revealed vital information during a marathon eight-hour grilling by Forest department officials on Monday.
“The kingpin told us about the involvement of 10 more persons in the racket. The whereabouts of these persons were traced to Goa after we scanned his mobile records. Efforts are on to catch them,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Athagarh, Sasmita Lenka, informed the media on Tuesday.
“We suspect that these persons went into hiding in Goa after Patra’s arrest from Godisahi near Barang in Cuttack district on December 20,” the DFO added.
Patra was brought on remand for interrogation at the Forest Range Office in Khuntuni.
He is accused of engaging some youths from Dhenkanal, Narasinghpur and Nayagarh areas for smuggling these endangered species. His network is reportedly spread in Kolkata and several other cities in neighbouring states.
“Apart from Pangolin smuggling, Patra was earlier indulged in the smuggling of elephant tusks. But after a series of raids, he dissociated himself and indulged in the smuggling of Pangolin about 2-3 years ago. We have come to know that the Satkosia Sanctuary in Angul Forest Division is the den of this racket ,” the DFO informed.
Referring to the code words and symbols used by Patra through the use of old coins and notes, she said the Forest department will seek the assistance of a specialist to decode them.