Mala Jogi In ‘Poacher,’ Explained: How Did Mala And Her Team Find Raaz? 

Poacher, an Amazon Prime series directed by Richie Mehta, revolves around the investigation of elephant poaching, which is one of the largest cases of its kind in India. A dedicated team, including Forest Service officers, police constables, and civil volunteers, risks their lives to investigate the most significant elephant ivory poachers and bring them to justice. Set in Kerala, Malayattoor, the story follows Mala, a forest ranger portrayed by Nimisha Sajayan, whom we have previously seen in The Great Indian Kitchen and many more. Sajayan’s portrayal of Mala is remarkable, capturing her bravery, risk-taking nature, and passion for wildlife conservation. She is committed to protecting the ecosystem and upholding justice. As the narrative unfolds, we witness Mala’s relentless pursuit of truth as she delves deep into the investigation, determined to capture those involved in the ivory poaching ring. Director Richie Mehta said that the character Mala Jogi drew inspiration from real-life Kerala DFO Manu Sathyan. The character’s father’s poaching background was fictional, likely added for internal conflict. Mala emerges as a multifaceted character whose involvement in this investigation is deeply rooted in personal familial histories. Let’s find out how Mala overcomes the challenges that come her way to find out the poachers.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Mala Get Involved In The Investigation? 

At the beginning of the series, it is seen that Mala, the forest ranger, is working in the bird sanctuary. However, she gets to know about the relentless elephant poaching occurring in Kerala, specifically Malayattoor, from the news, which deeply bothers her. Meanwhile, the forest department receives insider information from a man named Aruku, a forest watcher, who reveals that Raaz, Poyya Varghese, and Ivan Das are involved in the poaching. Aruku provides this information to the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO). With this critical lead, the police begin their investigation under the authority and supervision of Neel Banerjee, the Chief Wildlife Warden. They discover that Aruku had initially participated in elephant poaching to earn extra money by selling ivory to clients. However, after the first incident, he wanted to stop but continued due to threats he received. Under his watch, 18 elephants were killed, which deeply disturbed him, prompting him to surrender to the police.


Upon watching the news, Mala becomes bothered and, using her secret informant, tracks down Raaz’s whereabouts. However, by the time the police arrive, Raaz has disappeared. Neel Banerjee recognizes the gravity of the situation and invites Mala to Malayattoor to assist him in unraveling the mystery. He is impressed by Mala’s proactive approach to pursuing Raaz without formal notice, believing she is the best candidate for the job. He is forming a secret team to conduct the operation discreetly to ensure the suspects don’t get wind of it. Mala eagerly accepts the task, driven by her determination to apprehend the poachers and prevent further ecological damage. She is aware that unless these poachers are captured, Kerala’s ecosystem will suffer dangerously, just like the pollution crisis in Delhi. The resurgence of the Chinese ivory market adds further urgency to the operation, considering there are only around 6,000 elephants left, and 18 have already lost their lives to poaching. Mala’s familiarity with the local community helps her gather valuable information, essential for identifying those involved in the poaching operation. 

How Did They Find Raaz? 

Mala was summoned to conduct a pattern analysis on Raaz’s contact list to determine who he contacted regarding the sale of elephant tusks. However, she found this task to be tedious. Thus, she takes help from Alan, a computer programmer and wildlife enthusiast. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Alan willingly joined Mala and the team in their efforts to uncover the poaching gangs. Mala realized that this operation was part of a larger chain of command among the poachers, unlike anything they had encountered before. Upon receiving a tip about Poyya being in Elanji, Mala rushed there in hopes of capturing Raaz, as they were connected to the crime. She made a plan to trick Poyya and his associates into working as laborers, but upon reaching Poyya’s house, they discovered he was not present, and his family members were unaware of his whereabouts. Further investigation led them to Raaz’s sister’s house in Peringazha, where Raaz’s phone was found activated in a nearby house.


Neel Banerjee instructed Alan and Mala to form a team and raid Raaz’s sister’s house and the adjacent house where Raaz’s phone was located. They discovered Raaz’s mistress and daughter in the adjacent house. Through questioning, Mala gains the mistress’ trust so that she can reveal the truth about Raaz’s whereabouts. She learns that the mistress admires Raaz for his boldness and masculinity and reveals that Raaz was likely at the Goa-Maharashtra border. Mala angrily remarked that a true man would not be involved in serious crimes like poaching, especially after the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act. Meanwhile, the village council president contacted Mala, claiming to have Shyam, Raaz’s nephew, who might have information about Raaz’s whereabouts. Mala agreed to meet with Shyam alone at night amid the forest, realizing he was afraid to talk to the police. These incidents depict how much of a risk-taker she is, and shows that she can do anything to find out the truth, to the extent of risking her life. From Shyam, they learned that Raaz was working as a laborer in Magdu and would be traveling on the Sagar Express to get there. A team was dispatched to locate Raaz on the train but found no trace of him. They then investigated the local estate where Raaz was supposed to work and made a shocking discovery: Raaz was found hanging from a tree, tied with a rope. Mala, Alan, Neel, and the others were stunned by this revelation.

How Did Poyya’s Capture Affect Maya’s Emotions? 

After discovering that Raaz had committed suicide, according to the postmortem report, Mala remained unconvinced, believing that he had been murdered. She suspected that someone might have known that the police were after him and had feared Raaz would disclose their involvement in the ivory market, so they killed him. Determined to uncover the truth, Mala made the bold decision to investigate further by going there and seeing the report herself. It proves how much of a truth-seeker she is. However, upon arriving, Mala saw how the police were reluctant to cooperate with her and did not want to find out if it was a murder or suicide. Even though Mala kept asking for a toxicology test and showing how Raaz’s socks were clean, which meant he didn’t climb the tree to hang himself, the police didn’t care. This made Mala angry. Realizing that Raaz’s death had closed off the possibility of obtaining information from him, Mala turned her focus to Poyya, the main suspect. With the help of Poyya’s friend, they found him in Kasargode at the bus stand.


Mala forcefully took him into custody for interrogation. She insisted on questioning him alone, as she was confident in her ability to handle him. She knew he would not harm her because, when she arrested him before, she was nice to him. During the interrogation, Poyya confessed to his involvement in the elephant killings, which was a significant breakthrough in the investigation. However, as they attempted to take Poyya to the police station, he tried to harm himself using a nail from a chair, which shocked and horrified Mala. This incident made her realize the potential danger she had been in while she was alone with him, and it left her shaken. Despite putting on a brave face for others, Mala couldn’t conceal her inner turmoil. She started crying in silence in the bathroom and called her mother to express her fears, revealing the emotional toll the investigation had taken on her and how much she missed being at home with her mother.

Why Does This Investigation Feel Personal To Mala? 

It is evident that Mala is deeply affected by Poyya and returns home to rest. When she wakes up in the afternoon, her mother informs her that Babu, the DFO, has helped her get home as she was too tired to get home. Mala expresses her frustration, stating that her fight is against people like her father who are involved in crimes like poaching. We witness her intense hatred for her father’s actions, as he had killed many tigers, elephants, leopards, and many more. He used to think forests were humans. He used to destroy forests and their beings to stay alive. This ideology has troubled Mala since childhood, as she is deeply devoted to protecting these animals. Her mother makes an interesting observation, saying that Mala may have inherited her father’s hunting instincts, like her father used to hunt the animals she is trying to hunt the criminals. However, Mala counters, saying that she tries to make amends for her father’s wrongs by capturing those responsible for the crime. She was says that she is completely different from her father; while he hunted animals, she strives to preserve their lives.


How Did They Finally Solve The Case? 

After Ivan Das surrendered himself at the police station, Mala, along with Aruku and Ivan Das, went into the forest with their teams to investigate the elephant trails where the poaching had occurred. Witnessing the decomposed bodies of elephants, their trunks being parted from their heads and their tusks removed, was a heartbreaking sight for Mala. She knew she had to remain strong and seek justice for these animals in any way possible. Mala traveled to Delhi with Alan to capture Poonam Verma, the main buyer of ivory in the operation, who owned a gallery in Delhi. However, when they reached her house, Poonam had set up a fake ivory workshop to prove her innocence to the police, claiming that her products were not made from elephant tusks. To get Poonam to talk, Mala pretended to be interested in getting a cut from the case and promised to help her if she cooperated. Poonam agreed and accompanied them to the police station, but their attempt to take her to Kerala for interrogation failed when Poonam pretended to faint due to low blood sugar.

Despite Alan’s efforts to stop the plane, they couldn’t board it in time, and the warrant was only valid for an hour. They managed to reach Kerala eventually, signed the warrant, and began the interrogation. At first, Poonam was reluctant to reveal the truth, but after sending a Trojan email to her daughter’s account, they gained access to her dealings. Poonam then confessed that the raw ivory was stored in a safe house in Delhi. Under Neel’s supervision, Mala and Alan went to Delhi and threatened Poonam’s husband to cooperate, eventually obtaining the keys to the safe house. Inside, they found ivory worth hundreds of crores, which left them in disbelief. Riots had erupted outside Poonam’s house, but they managed to escape and return to Kerala with the contraband. They held a press conference, revealing how they had uncovered the dealers and buyers involved in the case, which was possibly the biggest in history. Hundreds of elephants died as a result of this operation. These people were so ruthless that they didn’t care if the shooters died; they would simply find replacements. Also, they conducted their dealings not only in China but also within India itself. They planned to retain the contraband for now and later burn it all to send a message to everyone.


At the end of the series, it is revealed that Neel Banerjee tried to involve the Central Bureau of Investigation by highlighting the international buyer’s involvement in this case of ivory trading. However, due to the involvement of government officials and high-profile people, the CBI showed no interest in assisting. This left Mala feeling upset and frustrated. In response, Mala proposed that she would take on the responsibility of finding these culprits at an international level, even if it meant risking her life. She was determined to protect the animals, the ecosystem, and future generations of animals. As a result, she decided to pursue the prosecution of these poachers part-time while also dedicating herself to working at the bird sanctuary. Her commitment to spending time with the animals is evident, as she views this as her life’s purpose.

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Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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