Police have thwarted an attempt by four Sri Lankan refugees who tried to return home through illegal means and arrested a refugee who acted as an agent for them.

Ramar (35) and his wife Rajeswari (25) from Sivagiripettai camp in Dindigul district, Jesuraja (31) from Kangeyam camp in Tirupur district and Yazhini (28) from Palani camp assembled under the Pamban road bridge on Friday night, when police, acting on a tip-off, intercepted them.

Interrogation revealed that Rajasekar, a refugee from Mandapam camp, had promised them to arrange for their return to Mannar through illegal ferrying after collecting Rs 6,000 from each. It was yet to be ascertained whether he had tied up with any fisherman for a boat, police said.

Police arrested Rajasekar under Sections 13 and 14 of Foreigners Act. He was produced before the Judicial Magistrate court in Rameswaram and is being taken to Chennai for lodging in judicial custody in Puzhal central prison, police said.

Superintendent of Police N.M. Mylvahanan said the four refugees opted for illegal means to return to their homeland as they could not go through legal means. Yazhini, who came to the State as a four-year-old child, did not have a birth certificate and could not obtain exit permit, the SP said.

In case of Rajeswari, she was said to have married Ramar after deserting her husband and she could not obtain exit permit without the consent of her first husband, the SP said, adding that she was planning to go to a Gulf country after reaching Sri Lanka. Jesuraja also could not get exit permit immediately as he has been cited as a witness in a murder case in Kangeyam and he has to remain here till the case was disposed of, the SP said, adding that the refugees would be sent back to their respective camps after interrogation.