BENGALURU: The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police on Monday arrested five people who were allegedly attempting to smuggle ambergris worth Rs 80 crore. They had procured the highly-valued product from contacts in Mangaluru and were trying to sell it to customers in the city, said a senior police officer.
Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales and is used in perfumes, and as an ingredient in cocktails and medicines. Because of its value, ambergris is also called “floating gold” as it is extremely rare and commands exorbitant rates -- estimated to cost about Rs 1 crore per kg. As sperm whales come under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act, it is illegal to possess or trade in any of its by-products in the country.
The accused have been identified as Majeeb Pasha (48), Mohammed Munna (45), Gulab Chand (40), and Santosh (31), all residents of Bagalagunte, while another suspect, Jagannathachar (52), hails from Raichur. A senior police officer said that based on a tip-off, a team raided a house, where they found the ambergris, besides some antiques - a steam fan and two red mercury copper cups, belonging to the era of the East India Company.