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Maneka Gandhi

Maneka Gandhi seeks probe by central agency into shark finning scam in Kerala

New Delhi |¬†Union minister Maneka Gandhi has written to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, seeking a probe into an alleged shark finning scam in Kerala in violation of the central government’s ban on export of shark fins.

The Women and Child Development Minister, who is also an ardent animal rights activist, raised the issue following media reports about the tactics resorted to by exporters of shark fin to evade the ban and continuing to fish sharks for their fins.

In her letter, Gandhi drew their attention to the illegal international trade in shark fin through Kochi and said that shark finning is an illegal practice of cutting off the fins of live sharks before tossing them back into the sea, where they are left to drown or bleed to death. The Government of India prohibited the export of shark fins in February 2015 in accordance with international treaties, to which India is signatory.

The prohibition has been repeatedly upheld by the high courts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, with the sanction to dispose existing stock until December 31, 2017. However, some export companies have exploited this sanction and continued to fish sharks for their fins which are then sold as “old stock”, she said in her letter.

“It is imperative that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence undertake measures to prevent these criminal actions which amount to an international smuggling racket. “I request you to investigate the matter urgently and initiate necessary action,” she said in her letter.

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