Raaz In ‘Poacher,’ Explained: Who Killed Him? And Why?


Raaz, played by Noorudheen Ali Ahmed, being the lynchpin of the Prime Video miniseries seems like an extended riff on the “raaz” joke from Welcome, but maybe that’s just me grasping at straws to extract some form of entertainment from the utterly boring Poacher. The character was a person of interest in the first three episodes of the show, inspired by the 2015 ivory smuggling case that happened in Kerala. Neel (the character is inspired by Amit Mallick), Mala (her real-life counterpart is Manu Sathyan), Alan (his real-life counterpart is Jose Louies), and several other law enforcement officers butted heads to get a hold of him in Adimali, Trivandrum, Peringuzha, and pretty much everywhere in Kerala. However, nobody was able to capture him. And that’s because someone else got to him before the protagonists could. So, let’s talk about Raaz’s fate, his relationships with Morris Finn, Poonam Verma, and Ravi Don, and what’s the purpose of telling this story about this interstate and international nexus.

Spoiler Alert

What Was The Hierarchy Of The Ivory Smuggling Business?

SHO Dina was in charge of tracking down Morris Finn. She essentially hospitalized Finn’s mother and held his wife captive until he showed up. Since the man apparently cared about his family, he sat down for a conversation with Dina but refused to give up the details of the racket he was a part of. When Dina pushed the right buttons, he revealed that he was the one who got Raaz to hunt down the elephants and extract the tusks from them. Morris Finn did all this on the orders of a woman who resided in Delhi, called Poonam Verma (her real-life counterpart is Umesh Aggarwal). But Poonam wasn’t the boss of the business. She owned an art gallery, and it was evidently a front for the work she did with someone called Ravi Don (his real-life counterpart is Eagle Rajan), who probably functioned internationally and directly dealt with clients who wanted processed or raw ivory from India. This information cost Dina her job, and she pretty much went out of the picture. 

However, Dina’s work didn’t go in vain because it helped Mala and her team since they knew who they needed to find. Given how Raaz functioned along with Poyya, Ivan Das, and Aruku, the Forest Department officers targeted them. Raaz’s dead body was found at an estate near the Goa-Maharashtra border. Next, in Poacher, Poyya was captured from somewhere in Kasargode. He essentially reiterated what Morris Finn had said and then tried to die by suicide but failed. Since Alan believed that the ivory wasn’t going outside India, he started to look within the country’s borders, which brought them to Sasi Illampally. The former-but-not-inactive-poacher revealed that he had worked with Morris to supply tusks to a politician named Prabhas Peradi. Mala, along with Alan, nabbed Peradi and squeezed him until he spilled the truth about his hand in the poaching business. He obliged, said that he did indeed buy tusks, and revealed that there was a separate gang functioning in Munnar. 

Next, with the help of the Delhi Police, Mala apprehended Poonam Verma, while Neel Banerjee arrested Ravi Don. An email from Poonam’s daughter’s account took the protagonists to a safe house. In addition to that, Poonam warned Alan and the rest of the gang that if they touched that safe house, they were going to disturb a network that dealt in arms, drugs, and human trafficking. Eventually, the Kerala Forest Department confiscated all the ivory (which included an ivory adult toy) from Delhi and arrested 74 people, including drivers, smugglers, carriers, carves, and gunsmiths. Ravi Don gave up the names of the Indian industrialists to whom he had been supplying ivory, with some of them residing in the Middle East and Europe. Banerjee hoped that if the CBI ended the demand, then the supply of ivory would stop, even though he knew that the names mentioned in Ravi Don’s diary could sway the government’s opinion about them.

How and why did Raaz die?

At first glance, Raaz’s demise in Poacher looked like a death by suicide. But upon further inspection, it became apparent that he didn’t, in fact, kill himself. The first indication came from what was on his body. His socks were clean, but going by the manner of his death, he must have climbed atop the tree in question, stood on the branch, and then thrown himself off of it. So, technically, his socks should have had at least a hint of dirt. Secondly, the branch was too thin. If he had stood on it for a certain period of time, probably contemplating whether or not he should die by suicide, it wouldn’t have withstood his weight, and it would’ve snapped. Hence, Mala came to the conclusion that someone must’ve killed him and then made it look like a suicide. 

Mala tried to get a postmortem done to ascertain if Raaz was drugged and then hanged from the tree. SHO Rodriguez, who was actually in charge of investigating Raaz’s death, objected to it and said that he was sure it was a suicide case and that wasn’t going to change under any circumstances. In addition to that, it seemed like he had pocketed the money that was found at the crime scene and bribed the concerned doctor to rule it off as a suicide so that he wouldn’t have to do his job. Rodriguez was unaware of the fact that Raaz was integral to Mala’s investigation, or maybe he just wanted to show that he didn’t want to listen to someone from the forest department. That was why Mala couldn’t investigate it any further and find the person who had killed Raaz. 

It’s impossible to pinpoint Raaz’s killer. However, I can speculate that either Poonam Verma could’ve ordered the hit via Morris Finn, or one of the other poaching gangs could’ve taken him out. My money is on the people that Raaz used to work with, directly or indirectly, because he was a loose end for them. The forest department was after him, and even though he was told to stay away from Kerala, he was planning to meet his mistress and his daughter. He would’ve been caught and then forced to expose the racket. So, they got him killed in the hopes that that’d preserve their ivory-filled pipeline. Fortunately, that only motivated Mala to look in the right places and get to the bottom of the case. Of course, Raaz deserved to die, but it would’ve been better if he died after helping out Mala with her investigation.

What Is The Commentary On Ivory Smuggling?

Even though Poacher didn’t really delve into the financial aspect of the ivory smuggling, there were more than enough visuals to show that Raaz and his gang belonged to an economic class that was ready to do anything to make ends meet. It wasn’t a case of ethics or morality. It was about survival. And since there was a demand for ivory, Raaz was ready to deliver it as soon as possible. The only difference between Raaz and the rest of his team was that he wasn’t apologetic about what he was doing. Aruku and Ivan Das expressed regret, but Raaz seemed to enjoy killing the innocent elephants, thereby making him a monster walking amongst humans. 

However, if you look at the people actually buying those tusks, then Raaz’s monstrosity feels like nothing in comparison. Ravi Don’s clients and Prabhas Peradi were so rich that they whimsically thought they could simply kill other animals and decorate their houses and workplaces with them. They didn’t have the courage to do it themselves (not that that would make it any better); hence, they created an entire illegal business around it that was being overlooked by the authorities who were supposed to put a stop to it. And that brings us to the role of the law enforcement authorities. Richie Mehta has done a lot of monkey-balancing here by showing that if the law wants to be like Mala, they can do so and help the world be a better place for humans and animals, and if they want to be like SHO Rodriguez, CBI Officer Menon, or all the officers who weren’t doing their jobs properly, they can do so and aid in the destruction of humanity and the animal kingdom. With all that said, at the end of the day, if state governments and the central government don’t work towards increasing the education and employment rates of this country, another Ravi Don is going to find a Raaz and commence some other illegal and destructive cycle.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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