They were escorted from Colombo by TN police teams

After having languished in the Welikada prison in Sri Lanka, it was a homecoming of sorts for the first batch of four prisoners from Tamil Nadu who were transferred here on Tuesday.

The prisoners, including two women, escorted from Colombo by Tamil Nadu police teams, arrived by Sri Lankan Airlines flights in the morning and afternoon.

Fifty-nine-year-old K. Sathyaseelan and Ramasamy Nadar Jayaraj (55) were lodged in the Tiruchi Central Prison, while P. Arokiamary alias Rajaronisha and Marimuthu Kanaku were lodged in the Special Prison for Women soon upon their arrival.

All the four were arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities for possessing narcotic substances on different occasions and lodged in the Welikada Prison, sources said.

Sathyaseelan hails from Alambakkam in Porur and Ramasamy Nadar Jayaraj is a native of Avudaiyalpuram near Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district. They were lodged in the high security block, prison officials here told The Hindu.

According to officials here, Jayaraj was sentenced to life and Sathyaseelan sentenced for 11 years. Both had completed around 10 years in the Sri Lankan jail.

The women prisoners who were also sentenced to life had left from Thiruvananthapuram to Colombo in 2003 and 2005.

A native of Duraisamypuram in Tiruchi, Marimuthu Kanaku (65) completed six years in jail, while P. Arokiamary (41) from Pudukottai in Tuticorin district completed five years in prison.

Having been transferred from the island nation, they will now serve the rest of their terms in the prisons here.

The India–Sri Lanka Bilateral Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons signed in June 2010 paved the way for the transfer of the four prisoners to jails in their home country.

The second batch comprising two prisoners – Meera Mohideen Abdullah and Mangalam Rajamani Shanmugham – will be transferred to the Tiruchi Central Prison on Wednesday.

Three more prisoners – Rajendran Singarayar, Khalith Yaseen alias Aleem Hameed and Mario John Clintos – would be transferred to Tiruchi on Thursday (August 15).

Sources said the State Home Department had issued an order in July –end for the transfer of nine Tamil Nadu prisoners lodged in the Sri Lankan jail to India. The Prisons Department was duly informed ahead of the transfer of the 7 male prisoners and two female inmates to Tiruchi prisons. The antecedents of the nine prisoners were verified prior to repatriation, the sources said, adding that 14 Tamil Nadu prisoners were already repatriated from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu.