Man held with whale vomit worth Rs 1.7 crore

Anuj Cariappa

Mumbai, June 19: A 53-year-old man who had come to sell 1.3 kg of ambergris (whale vomit) worth Rs 1.7 crore, was arrested in Mumbai, the police said.

Ambergris is a waxy substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume manufacture.

Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of police and forest department officials laid a trap Saturday in the Cama Lane of suburban Vidyavihar area and nabbed Rahul Dupare, police said.

"We seized 1.3 kg of ambergris, worth Rs 1.7 crore, from him. It is a prohibited item. We have registered a case under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and have arrested Dupare," a police official said.

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The sperm whale is an endangered species protected under the Wildlife Act.

Ambergris is soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ether and certain volatile and fixed oils.

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