Chennai: The customs officials on Tuesday seized 180 green conch shells from six outbound passengers at Chennai international airport.
Sources said based on specific information the Air Intelligence Unit intercepted six passengers Jameel Usain(46), Yunus(37), Noor Mohammed(32), Allaudin (38) Nagoor Miran(32) and an unidentified man who arrived at Chennai airport to board a flight to Singapore. They were intercepted at the departure terminal after they cleared the immigration and were proceeding towards the security hold area.
On questioning whether they were carrying any contraband/foreign currency or wildlife, they were evasive in their replies. Their belongings were examined and officials found rare green conch shells found only in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
In all, 180 green conch shells were seized under the Customs Act (read with Wild Life Protection Act 1972) and handed over to the Tamilnadu forest department along with passenger for further action under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
Forest officials said it is illegal to transport conch shells and certain pieces of coral outside without proper permits. Conch shells and certain species of coral fall under the endangered species list and thus require a special permit to be able to transport them, alive or dead as shells. Sources said one conch shell values more than 50 dollars. The six passengers were detained and probe is on.