Two Sri Lankans with criminal record helped to flee Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu State Government and the Indian Centre on Tuesday took different stands on the exit of two Sri Lankan nationals, with criminal antecedents, from India, The Hindu newspaper reported.

The State Government informed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that the two – Sanga Sirantha and Mohammed Saffras – had left India. Five men were arrested by Pamban police for helping them sail back to their country.

However, the Centre submitted that an official confirmation from Sri Lankan authorities was awaited. The Indian authorities had sent a communication to their Sri Lankan counterparts seeking a reply on whether the duo had reached Sri Lanka and surrendered before a local court.

Taking cognisance of the submissions, a Division Bench of Justices S. Vaidyanathan and N. Anand Venkatesh sought additional reports on the investigation in the case. The court also sought report on the steps taken against the police officials responsible for the duo’s escape.

The court observed that the issue could not be taken lightly and there must be accountability. The case was adjourned till November 5 for filing of responses. Further appearance of the Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police was dispensed with.

The court had earlier suo motu impleaded the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs as respondents in the case. The two Sri Lankan nationals, with criminal antecedents back home, had escaped to India to evade arrest by authorities in the island nation.

They were arrested by Ramanathapuram police for entering India without valid documents, following which they were remanded in judicial custody in Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai. Their bail application was dismissed by the High Court.

To facilitate their deportation, the case against them pending before the lower court was withdrawn. However, the order of the Judicial Magistrate was misconstrued by Puzhal prison authorities. After their release from prison it was alleged that the duo escaped to Sri Lanka.