NIA links inmates of Tiruchi special camp to drug cartel – The Hindu
The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday conducted searches in the special camp in Tiruchi, where foreign nationals, particularly Sri Lankans, facing criminal charges are lodged, and seized incriminating materials that linked some of the inmates to an international drug cartel.
According to sources in the agency, special teams stormed the high-security special camp at 4.30 a.m. backed by a contingent of the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces.
The information on the surprise check was shared only with the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Police and a couple of other officers considering the sensitive nature of the operation. During the searches that continued till late Wednesday afternoon, 70 mobile phones and proof of financial transaction to the tune of several crores of rupees were unearthed.
Acting on the information shared by one of the suspects in the special camp and other intelligence inputs, NIA teams searched 10 places in East Coast Road, Thiruvanmiyur and Valasaravakkam in Chennai, the sources said.
Investigators interrogated a couple of Sri Lankan nationals arrested in the Vizhinjam drugs and arms trafficking case lodged in the special camp.
The NIA is also investigating the case relating to the seizure of 301 kg of heroin, five AK 47 rifles and 1000 9-mm ammunition by law-enforcing agencies from six Sri Lankan nationals who were found on vessel Ravihansi off the Vizhinjam on March 25, 2021.
The searches in Tiruchi was continuation of the investigation in the case and based on specific inputs that the suspects lodged in the camp were continuing to operate by coordinating with drug smugglers based in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the sources said.
NIA investigators have been tracking the international links, source, supply and transportation route of the drug peddlers.
Money trail “Now that we have found evidence of huge financial transactions, we have to go after the money trail. The prime suspects are all Sri Lankan nationals, three of whom were cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a proscribed terrorist organisation. Cyber forensic analysis of the mobile phones seized in the camp will throw more light on the international drugs and arms trafficking connections,” a senior official said.
The Tiruchi special camp, administered by the Revenue Department, Tamil Nadu, has dozens of inmates who often resort to protests seeking release by expeditious disposal of the criminal cases pending against them.
Also read: Tamil Nadu Police bust gang raising funds for LTTE