Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Police have arrested 61 Sri Lankan nationals who were found living illegally in the two states, Hindustan Times reported.
Eleven others were also arrested for helping the Sri Lankans with their stay.
While 38 Sri Lankans were arrested from Mangaluru in Karnataka, 23 were held from Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Besides them, seven and four agents, were arrested from the two places, respectively.
According to Karnataka Police, the Sri Lankan nationals had entered India through the sea around March. After staying in Madurai for a while, some of them moved to Bengaluru and then to Mangaluru, they added.
Mangaluru city police commissioner N Sashi Kumar said the arrests were made based on a tip-off from Tamil Nadu Police.
“We have also arrested seven Indian nationals who were helping these Sri Lankan nationals. All the accused have been booked under relevant sections,” he said.
Tamil Nadu police are yet to ascertain the nationality of the agents arrested.
As per information available with Karnataka Police, the Sri Lankan nationals had paid ₹10 lakh Sri Lankan rupees (around ₹3 lakh in Indian currency) to an agent based in Sri Lanka to take them to Canada. The group was slated to leave in container vessels, cargo ships or private boats from Tamil Nadu.
“They were staying in lodges in Tamil Nadu and after the police checks intensified during the state elections, some of them were shifted to Shantinagar in Bengaluru. Later, they split into smaller groups and arrived in Mangaluru,” Kumar said.
“Our Q branch police have secured them and legal processes are going on for their remand,” a senior official in the Karnataka intelligence department said, not wishing to be named.
Following the arrests, a case was registered at Mangaluru South Police station under sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 370 (buying or disposing off any person as a slave) and 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code, section 14 of Foreigners Act, 1964 and section 12 (1) (a) of Passport Act, 1967, Karnataka Police said. (Colombo Gazette)