Tamil Nadu Bureau

It was lined with a substantial quantity of high-power explosives

CHENNAI/MADURAI: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam boat, apprehended by the Coast Guard on February 13, was destroyed in the high seas off Chennai on Tuesday.

The boat contained a substantial quantity of explosives, and the Tamil Nadu police and the joint interrogation team did not want to take chances, an official explained.

Early on Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard was asked to tow the boat from the Chennai Port, where it had been moored, to a distance of about 20 nautical miles into the Bay of Bengal. More than a dozen officers of Central and State agencies, including senior Tamil Nadu police officers S. Davidson Devasirvatham and C. Easwaramoorthy, watched as the bomb disposal squad exploded the boat.

The Director-General of Police, D. Mukherjee, said that a Metropolitan Magistrate's order was obtained to destroy the boat, with much evidentiary value. Investigations into the matter will, meanwhile, continue.

Raid in Madurai

In a pre-dawn operation, the police raided an aluminium unit at Pethaniapuram in Madurai on Tuesday and seized 70 bags of aluminium ingots. The consignment was meant to be sent to Sri Lanka, the police said. S. Gunasekhara Pandian of Perunazhi (Ramanathapuram district) and V. Selvaraj of Madurai, who were taken into custody, confessed that they had supplied three consignments in the recent weeks.

Two others, S. Muthuramalingam and K. Murugapandi, allegedly part of the network, surrendered before the police.

The `modus operandi' was to transport the ingots, that could be used as Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components, to S. Mariyur, a coastal hamlet, via Aruppukottai and Sayalkudi. The consignment would be stored in the hamlet and smuggled in small boats over time.

"It has been established that nine persons were involved in the smuggling of IED components from the Rameswaram coast to Sri Lanka. We have seized the vehicle used for smuggling. Five special teams have been formed to nab the prime suspects, Kannan and Velusamy," said R. Thirugnanam, Ramanathapuram SP.

More In: Today's Paper