Peacock Feather Smuggling Racket Busted; DRI Seizes Stock Worth Over 2 Crore

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Mumbai’s zonal unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized a set of 28 lakh peacock tail feathers at Nhava Sheva Port on February 14. The peacock feathers were allegedly being smuggled to China via export cargo as mis-declared coir doormats.

The cost of the seized stock is estimated to be INR 2.01 crore in the illicit market. According to Schedule 2 of the Export Policy of ITC (HS), 2018 notified by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade read with the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the export of peacock tail feathers is prohibited.

After the exporter of the export cargo was questioned by the DRI he admitted being involved in the unlawful export, the exporter was detained and placed under judicial custody by a municipal court. The DRI is investigating the potential connection between the smuggling bid and global networks involved in the trafficking of wildlife, as well as the reason behind the smuggling of peacock tail feathers to China.

A detailed examination of the export cargo had allegedly revealed, not only the peacock tail feathers but also 16,000 peacock feather stems were seized under provisions of the Customs Act, 1962.