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SL national arrested in Kerala facilitated arms and narco trafficking: Indian authorities

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigation into the seizure of five AK47 rifles and 300kg of heroin from a Sri Lankan boat off the Kerala coast has revealed that agents from the island nation are operating on Indian soil facilitating drugs and arms trade, The New Indian Express reports.

The revelation comes at a time when the Kochi coastline is under surveillance over the possibility of infiltration by Sri Lankan nationals en route to Pakistan.  

NIA probes found that a Sri Lankan national named Suresh Raj — who has been staying in India illegally for the past several years and was arrested by the Tamil Nadu Q Branch from Angamaly this July — was the main agent who coordinated drugs and weapons trafficking from Pakistan and Iran to Sri Lanka. 

On July 3, the Tamil Nadu Q Branch and the Kerala Special Operation Group arrested three persons including Suresh in a joint move. Later, the NIA uncovered the involvement of Suresh in the case relating to the seizure of AK47 rifles and drugs from a Sri Lankan boat in March.

“He has been staying in India illegally with his relatives for over a decade. The NIA probe into the seizure of weapons and drugs, coupled with an investigation conducted by the Intelligence Bureau, revealed that Suresh was one of the main agents coordinating drugs and weapons trafficking from Pakistan and Iran to Sri Lanka. The details collected from his mobile phones and social media accounts revealed that he maintained contacts with a Pakistani gang acting as an agent in the illegal drugs and weapons trade,” said an Intelligence Bureau source.

The investigation also revealed that the accused was using several foreign SIM cards for illegal activities even while staying in Angamaly. A report filed by NIA, as part of remanding Suresh and co-accused Sounderajan in judicial custody, stated that the accused was accumulating wealth from illegal activities. 

“The illegal earnings of Suresh have been transported to India by way of gold and other means,” the report said. NIA claims that Suresh earned wealth worth crores of rupees from illegal activities.  “Documents recovered from the accused contain details of illegal earnings which come to several crores of rupees. The probe into the end-use of such huge funds raised by the accused through smuggling of arms/ammunition and other contraband is under process,” said the NIA report. 

The case pertains to the arrest of six Sri Lankan nationals by the Narcotics Control Bureau on March 25 after a boat, ‘Ravihansi’, was intercepted by the coast guard off Kerala coast. NCB seized 300kg of heroin, five AK47 rifles and 1,000 nine mm bullets from the boat. The NCB referred the probe into the seizure of rifles and ammunition to the NIA, which subsequently found the boat was owned by a Sri Lankan citizen, Loku Yaddehige Nishantha.

Source: The New Indian Express