The Absconder Tracking Team (ATT) of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Bengaluru, arrested Mohamed Imran Khan, aka Haja Najerbheeden, 30, in a Sri Lankan human trafficking case.
Khan has been on the run since June 2021. The ATT monitored his movements over the past several months, leading to his capture from an undisclosed location in Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
During the preliminary investigation, it was learnt by the NIA that the accused, a resident of Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu, was a notorious smuggler with a history of illegal activities in the region. He was a fugitive wanted by multiple law enforcement agencies.
The case for which he was arrested by the NIA relates to when the Mangaluru South police acted on credible intelligence and revealed that a group of Sri Lankan nationals had arrived and taken shelter in Mangaluru without possessing valid documents. This operation led to the arrest of 38 Sri Lankan nationals in June 2021.
An investigation revealed that the Sri Lankan nationals were brought to Mangaluru via Tamil Nadu and Bengaluru. Recognising the international dimensions of the case, the NIA intervened and re-registered the case.
During the probe, it was revealed that Imran Khan, in collaboration with a Sri Lankan national identified as Eesan, formerly associated with the LTTE, devised a plan to illegally transport 38 Sri Lankan nationals to various locations within Tamil Nadu.
According to an NIA statement, the gang lured these individuals with false promises, including the prospect of obtaining legitimate documentation for emigration to Canada and securing employment opportunities.
Imran Khan and other accused allegedly trafficked Sri Lankan nationals to various locations in Bengaluru and Mangaluru.
Investigations also revealed that Imran Khan was pivotal in a broader conspiracy involving international human trafficking. The NIA added that he acted as the main conduit responsible for transporting Sri Lankan nationals to India and subsequently to other nations.
The NIA had filed a preliminary charge sheet against five accused in this case. The accused are Dhinakaran, aka Ayya, Kasi Viswanathan, Rasool, Satham Ushen, and Abdul Muheetu. So far, 13 suspects have been arraigned in the case by the NIA.