On Saturday (May 22), the police have arrested three people in connection to the smuggling of whale vomit or ambergris in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. It must be mentioned that ambergris is highly expensive and is produced in the intestine of sperm whales.
As per reports, the accused were apprehended while trying to sell it to a client in Ahmedabad from Junagadh. They were identified as Sharin Cheda (46), Khalid Ofi (50), and Sumer Soni (40). The cops also seized about 7 crores worth of whale vomit from them. While Cheda hailed from Junagadh, Ofi resided in Bhavnagar. Soni is a resident of Udaipur in Rajasthan. The trio was booked under relevant Sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
Accused arrested, cops initiate probe into the racket
The police informed that sperm whale is listed as an endangered species in India. As such, possession, and sale of ambergris is a punishable offence. In a statement, DP (Zone VII) Premsukh Delu informed, “We have arrested three persons for smuggling 5.35 kg ambergris. They are part of a network in which so far 10 people are suspected to be involved. Further investigation into the case is underway.” The police have also identified the client who tried to procure the whale vomit.
Another senior official said, “We had received a tip-off that a group of three persons were bringing in a consignment of ambergris to sell in Ahmedabad. A team held the three accused from a four-wheeler outside the Devpriya complex in the Anandnagar area. Prima facie, the accused have told us that they procured the ambergris material from Junagadh and were trying to sell it in Ahmedabad. A total of 15-20 persons can be involved in this racket and further investigation is on in the case.”
Ambergris used for manufacturing rare perfumes
Reportedly, ambergris is grey or blackish in colour. Besides, the expensive substance is solid, flammable and waxy. As stated earlier, it is extracted from the intestine of a sperm whale. The substance is produced by the whale to protect its gut from the sharp beaks of its prey, squid. It is often found floating in tropical seas and is used in manufacturing rare perfumes and fragrances. Often, sperm whales are preyed upon for the extraction of ambergris and then exported to Gulf countries for exorbitant prices.