In a bid to hunt down those who are associated with trafficking of arms, ammunition and narcotics from Iran and Pakistan to Sri Lanka, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday launched search operations at seven locations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, an official said.
According to the official of the premier investigation agency, the searches were carried out in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai and Thiruvallur districts and Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
The case was registered in April in Trivandrum under sections of the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code against six Sri Lankan nationals who were intercepted along with consignments of 300 kg of heroin, five AK-47 rifles and 1,000 live rounds by the Coast Guard during patrolling off the Vizhinjam coast in the Arabian Sea on March 18.
The NIA re-registered the case in May and during investigation, it arrested two more accused, Suresh and Soundarajan on August 2.
During the searches, various incriminating documents including books relating to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a proscribed terrorist organisation, seven digital devices including mobile phones, SIM cards and tablets were seized, the NIA official said, adding that further investigation in the case continues.
The NIA official said the accused and suspects were involved in trafficking of arms, ammunition and narcotics from Iran and Pakistan to Sri Lanka.
The seizure by the Coast Guard of 300 kg of drugs, valued at Rs 3,000 crore in the international market, and five AK-47 rifles with 1,000 live rounds from a Sri Lankan boat off Minicoy in Lakshadweep on March 18 was the second major anti-drug trafficking operation undertaken by the Coast Guard on the west coast of India within a fortnight.
Earlier on March 5, the Coast Guard had intercepted a Lankan boat off Minicoy with six crew members.
In a similar operation in November last year, it had seized a Lankan boat off Kanyakumari, with 120 kg of narcotics worth approximately Rs 1,000 crore and five weapons.
During the past one year, the coastal patrolling agency has seized about 1.6 tonnes of narcotics worth approximately Rs 4,900 crore.
(With PTI Inputs)