India has finally released a pigeon suspected of spying for China after the bird spent eight months in police custody.
The bird was held under lock and key at Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals in Mumbai while police carried out an investigation.
The pigeon was caught at a port in the financial capital, Mumbai, with “messages written in a Chinese-like script” on its wings, according to the Times of India.
The police had registered a case of spying against the bird, but after completing their inquiry, they dropped the charge.
India office of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, in a statement on Thursday, said the probe took an “astonishing eight months”.
PETA India said police had granted “formal permission for the hospital to release the pigeon” on Wednesday, Barron’s reports.
The pigeon is the latest of many detained by Indian authorities on suspicion of espionage.
Border security officers took a pigeon into custody in 2016 after it was also found carrying a threatening message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi close to India’s border with arch-rival, Pakistan.