A Border Security Force team on Wednesday seized a consignment of snake venom worth over Tk 28 crore that was allegedly being smuggled from Bangladesh into India through the porous Indo-Bangladesh border, according to a BSF statement.
The snake venom that was seized in Raiganj area of West Bengal weighed at least 4 lbs and is suspected to be of French origin.
Based on a tip-off that snake venom was being smuggled into the country, the BSF team carried out a special operation on Tuesday at about 7.45 pm along the border.
They saw 4 people walking stealthily towards India under cover of darkness with some sort of package.
The BSF team challenged them and on sensing danger, the culprits left the package and fled towards Bangladesh. The BSF team carefully searched the entire area and found the package which when opened revealed two jars containing a powdery and crystalline substance –weighing 4 lbs. They then contacted the forest officials who said that the substance looked like Cobra venom in the powdery and crystalline form. The forest officials also added that snake venom was a very expensive substance in the international market.
The BSF personnel contacted the DFO at Balurghat to ascertain the veracity of the product. The DFO said that snake venom is normally priced at about $120 per gram if purchased officially, but in the grey market the seized amount would cost approximately ₹24 crore. The entire amount has been handed over to officials of the Forest department.
The jars had markings which read "Cobra SP – Red Dragon –Made in France – Code No- 6097". The venom had possibly been brought in from France into areas of Chittagong in Bangladesh from where it was taken to Rangpur in Bangladesh. It is from there that the smugglers attempted to push the product into India from where it may have been taken to China.
Cobra venom is used in the preparation of chemicals needed for Chemotherapy of terminally ill Cancer patients. More information is awaited about the seized cache, the modus operandi by which it was being smuggled and the ultimate destination of the venom.