Five people have been arrested in Noida for supplying snakes and their venom at rave parties that were allegedly organized by social media sensation Elvish Yadav, the police said.
The five men have told police that these parties were organised at various farmhouses in Delhi and its adjoining areas, and that Elvish Yadav used the snakes to shoot videos for YouTube and Instagram.
The snake venom was consumed by people attending the rave parties that also hosted foreign nationals, it’s alleged.
Officials said the First Information Report or FIR names six people, including Elvish Yadav. “Five of the six accused have been taken into custody, however, Elvish Yadav has not been arrested yet,” they said.
Nine snakes, including five cobras, and snake venom was recovered from the accused, officials said, adding that the snakes have been handed to the Forest Department.
They would catch snakes from different places in the region and extract their venom, which they allegedly sold at a high price. “They used to collect a hefty sum of money for supplying the venom at parties,” police said.
The use of snake venom as a recreational drug is considered extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
The arrests were made by the Noida police after it raided a rave party in Noida’s Sector 51 late last evening following a complaint by an animal welfare NGO, PFA, run by BJP’s Maneka Gandhi.
Ms Gandhi has called for Elvish Yadav’s immediate arrest.
“Elvish Yadav should be arrested immediately. This is a grade-I crime – that means seven years in jail. PFA laid a trap and caught these people. He uses endangered species of snakes in his videos,” she said.
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Denying the charges, Elvish Yadav claimed that all the charges are fake and he is willing to cooperate with the police in this investigation. “When I woke up in the morning, I saw reports that I have been arrested, and I was caught with intoxicating substances. All these reports, and charges against me are fake,” he said in video on social media.