Special Correspondent

He allegedly helped in transporting consignments to Sri Lanka

CHENNAI: The `Q' branch on Thursday arrested one more person in connection with the case relating to the seizure of iron ball bearings in Chennai and Tuticorin a few days ago.

Giridhar (23) of Akkamadam in Rameswaram is being brought to Chennai. A senior officer said the fisherman had allegedly helped in transporting seven tonnes of iron ball bearings to Sri Lanka from the Tamil Nadu coast.

The officer said Asghar Ali and Meeran Sahib of Mumbai, arrested on Monday night, had been brought to Chennai and remanded to judicial custody. Ali allegedly supplied the bearings and Meeran worked as an agent.

On January 23, the special unit seized two tonnes of ball bearings at Periamet here and arrested eight persons, including five Sri Lankans. Based on the information provided by them, a search of a house at Tuticorin yielded three tonnes of ball bearings. One more person was arrested. Later, four of the nine persons arrested were taken into police custody. Following this, 2.5 tonnes more of the same consignment was seized from a premises at Periamet on Tuesday night.

Amid strong suspicion that large quantities of ball bearings had supplied to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, investigators are trying to ascertain the source, supply route, and destination.

Lorries were used to transport the ball bearings to Madurai, and then they were loaded onto smaller vehicles. Other routes too could have been used, an officer said.

One of the accused, Sivagaran, who is in judicial custody now, had come as a refugee to India in 2000 and left two years later. He had established contacts with various agencies and sent consignments of medicines and ball bearings to Sri Lanka.