On Wednesday morning, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) launched a search operation at the special camp for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tiruchirappalli to investigate about 20 refugees residing there. The search, led by National Intelligence Agency officers from Kochi, relates to the confiscation of 300 kg of heroin, 5 AK-47s and 1,000 live rounds of 9mm ammunition off the coast of Vizhinjam, near Thiruvananthapuram, in March 2021.
Earlier, Suresh Rajan, a Sri Lankan national, was arrested in connection with the case from Kerala for his alleged links with Pakistan-based drug runner, Haji Salem, who often traveled between Dubai, Pakistan and Iran. The NIA investigation also revealed financial transactions worth Rs. crore in Rajan’s name.
Rajan played a prominent role in smuggling drugs and weapons into Sri Lanka through India’s backyard. He was assisted by a number of individuals who were part of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Today’s research is the investigation of several cartels involved in this network where there was specific information about 20 people living in special camps. A source familiar with the ongoing search said some of them had also been in contact with Salim directly or through his network.
Rajan, who has been living in Chennai for several years, was arrested from Angamali near Kochi last year. The Thuraya phone, an advanced satellite phone, found on the boat with drugs and weapons, was important to the NIA investigation as it had call records that led to Rajan and his friend Soundararajan.