India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the seizure of five AK-47 rifles and 3,000-crore worth of heroin from a Sri Lanka boat off the Kerala coast on March 25 has found that a Pakistan national was the main handler of the smugglers, the New Indian Express reported.
The NIA got these details while questioning Suresh Raj, aka Chinna Suresh, 39, and Soundarajan, aka Soundar, 21, in the past 13 days. Both were first arrested by Tamil Nadu Q Branch. Later, following a directive of the NIA court, they were brought to Kochi and their arrests recorded in the NIA case.
“Both have revealed their incriminating role and their associations with foreign handlers including a suspect in Pakistan. The Pakistan national had supplied a large quantity of heroin, arms and ammunition. The NIA has identified the person and the operation of the gang that smuggles drugs and arms on fishing vessels. They also have given information about their mode of communication, which is mostly social media platforms. The accused used multiple mobile phones, SIM cards and social media accounts for secret communication with their associates abroad,” a source said.
The NIA has found that the conspiracy to smuggle drugs and weapons from Pakistan using fishing vessels started in the second half of 2020. Both also have links with members of the proscribed LTTE. “Suresh is a Sri Lankan national who had been staying illegally in India for the past several years without any visa or passport. He managed to obtain a PAN card, Aadhaar card, driving licence, voter ID card and passport of India using forged documents. He was arrested by the Q Branch from Angamaly last month,” the source said.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested six Sri Lankan nationals on March 25 after a boat, ‘Ravihansi’, was intercepted by the coast guard off the Kerala coast. The NCB seized 300kg of cocaine, five AK-47 rifles and 1,000 9mm bullets from the boat. The NCB referred the probe into the seizure of the rifles and ammunition to the NIA, which subsequently found the boat was owned by Sri Lankan citizen Loku Yaddehige Nishantha. (Colombo Gazette)