The ‘Q’ Branch CID police in Coimbatore, India arrested four persons, including a Sri Lankan refugee, a Sri Lankan national and two residents of Chennai on Tuesday for allegedly collecting money from inmates of the Sri Lankan refugee camp at Kottur in rural Coimbatore and tempting to illegally take them to Australia.
The accused were identified as A. Edison alias Rajan (48), an inmate of the refugee camp at Kummidipoondi in Thiruvallur district, L. Vimalan (31) of Yanai Vilunthan Kulam, Agariyan Kulam, Kilinochi, Sri Lanka, M. Anton Charles Patrick (27) of Sri Lakshmi Nagar in Valasaravakkam, Chennai, and G. Vajitha (34) of K.K. Nagar in Nesapakkam, Chennai.
The refugee camp at Kottur was started in 1980. There are 546 persons (276 women and 270 men) in the 193 families there.
According to the police, preliminary inquiries revealed that the accused had promised to take inmates illegally to Australia by boat from Kanyakumari if they gave them Rs. 70,000 per person.
They also managed to collect Rs. 3.7 lakh from six inmates of the refugee camp here.
They had got Rs. 60,000 from Muthuraj, Rs. 1.3 lakh from Jayanthan, Rs. 60,000 from Ramajeyam, Rs. 75,000 from Vincent Raj, Rs. 10,000 from Sathish and Rs. 35,000 from Sivarajan.
The incident came to light following a complaint that an inmate of the camp N. Muthuraja (40) lodged with the police.
The accused were booked under sections 120(B) (punishment for criminal conspiracy) and 370 (buying or disposing person as slave) read with 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code, 12(1)(a) of the Passport Act 1967 and 14(B) of the Foreigners Act 1946 read with para 5 of the Foreigners Order 1948.
Police sources said that they arrested the accused at Anamalai Mukkonam on Tuesday evening. The arrested persons were later lodged in the Puzhal Prison in Chennai. (Colombo Gazette)