A search operation was conducted on the Navajeevan Express and a passenger was taken into custody for allegedly smuggling the tortoises in an AC coach.
In a major bust, officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized around 500 Indian star tortoises, after they conducted a raid at the Vijayawada railway station.
DRI officials said that a search operation was conducted on the Navajeevan Express based on a tip-off, and a passenger was taken into custody for allegedly smuggling the tortoises in an AC coach.
Investigation officials said that the accused was handed the tortoises at Kadiri in Anantapur district and was heading to Ahmedabad, from where the reptiles would be smuggled to various countries.
After DRI officials seized the tortoises, they called the Forest Department to rehabilitate the reptiles. The Veterinary Assistant Surgeon from the Government Veterinary dispensary in Vijayawada also inspected the tortoises and certified them to be healthy. Officials are also trying to ascertain where the tortoises were originally picked up from.