KOCHI: The Forest Department has submitted chargesheet against two Japanese nationals, who were arrested at Cochin International Airport at Nedumbaserry in June while attempting to transport a collection of exotic species in their baggage.
The officials have invoked the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 against them.
According to officials, the Section 3 (1) of the Act, prohibits foreigners from undertaking biodiversity-related activities without approval of National Biodiversity Authority in the country.
The violation of the Act attracts, which is a cognisable and non-bailable offence, an imprisonment up to five years and a fine up to Rs 10 lakh. In cases where the damage caused exceeds Rs.10 lakh, the fine may be equal with the damage caused, or with both, the Act says.
The Customs officials arrested Murayi Yojka, 21, and Shibi Ottawa, 24 when they were trying to board a Sri Lankan Airlines flight to Colombo from here.
The officials had seized three small-sized snakes, including a viper, and animals such as scorpion, turtle, chameleon, spider, lizards, earthworms, centipede, and beetle from their custody.