Noida: The Noida Police on Thursday booked six people including Youtuber Elvish Yadav under charges of Wildlife (Protection) Act and criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly providing snake venom opioids at a party in Noida.
While five of those named in the FIR were arrested by the police, Yadav — who denied his involvement in the incident in a social media video released Friday morning — is absconding, said officials.
Nine snakes, including five cobras, and snake venom were recovered by a joint team of Noida Police and the Gautam Budh Nagar district forest department during a raid at a banquet hall in Sector 51 of Noida where the five alleged associates of Yadav were arrested, added the police.
“On the basis of a complaint filed by an animal welfare activist associated with People For Animals at Sector 49 police station, an FIR was registered against six people including Youtuber Elvish Yadav for having a party at a banquet hall in Sector 51 and providing snake venom for recreational purposes. Five people arrested have been identified as Rahul, Titunath, Jayakaran, Narayan and Ravinath, while Elvish Yadav is absconding. Nine snakes have been recovered from the possession of the suspects as well. Further investigation is underway,” an official statement from Noida Police said.
Yadav is the winner of the reality show Bigg Boss and is social media personality.
According to the complaint submitted to the police, complainant Gaurav Gupta, a member of PFA alleged: “We had received information that Bigg Boss winner Elvish Yadav organises rave parties. In which they regularly invite, foreign women, and consume snake venom and intoxicants. We also had received information that Elvish Yadav shoots videos with live snakes in rave parties at farm houses in NCR”.
The complaint further states that PFA contacted Elvish Yadav posing as a customer.
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“We asked them to organise a party after which on November 2, we reached the banquet hall where it was decided to be held. We informed the forest department and the local police as well. After which five people involved in smuggling of poisonous snakes were caught, as they showed us the banned snakes,” states the complaint.
“About 20 ml of snake venom was found in a bottle and a total of nine snakes were found (seized) from the suspects, including five cobras, one python, two two-headed snakes (sand snake) and one rat snake (horse back snake). When asked, the suspects told that they use these snakes and snake venom at rave parties,” the FIR states.
The suspects have been booked under Sections 9 (Prohibition of hunting), 39 (hunted animals to be government property) 48(A) (restriction on transportation of wildlife) , 49 (prohibition of dealings in animal articles),50 (empowers forest officer to arrest person involved in an offence against the Act), 51(violation of chapter VA of Act will lead to imprisonment which may extend to seven years) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, charges under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act have not been invoked against the suspects by the police.
Yadav denied the allegations in a video issued on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday.
“I just woke up and saw the news stating that I have been involved in illegal activities and have been arrested. I assure you that I am not involved in these activities and all these allegations are false. I urge the UP Police, authorities, including Honourable Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, that even if even 0.01 percent of my involvement is found, I am ready to take responsibility. I am ready to cooperate with the UP Police. I request media not to defame me,” Yadav said in the video.
Commenting on a video on social media where he can be seen posing with a snake, Yadav said it was six months old. “This scene is from a music video shoot and is 6 months old. Don’t believe in everything”.