NIA arrests key conspirator in drugs smuggling case

Sources in the NIA said all the accused in the case were dealing actively in illegal drugs trade in India and Sri Lanka.

August 25, 2023 04:33 pm | Updated August 26, 2023 11:45 am IST - New Delhi

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA), in New Delhi. File

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA), in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The National Investigation Agency on Friday arrested Lingam alias Adi Lingam, a key conspirator in the alleged smuggling of drugs and arms to raise funds for reviving the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka and India.

Adi, who was earlier employed in a Central Armed Police Force, had extensive connections in the Tamil film industry. Investigators alleged he was closely associated with Gunasekharan alias Guna, the prime suspect in the case who along with Pushparaj alias Pookutti Kanna and Haji Salim (a supplier based in Pakistan) was operating the illegal drugs and arms trade from the Special Camp in Tiruchi for the revival of the LTTE. So far 14 suspects have been arrested in the case.

The central agency said that Lingam, a resident of Chennai, acted as a benami for Guna’s illegal transactions relating to laundering the proceeds of drugs and arms trade in India and Sri Lanka. He had also forged proof of identity/address documents for members of the racket in an attempt to legitimise their illegal stay in India.

All the accused in the case were actively involved in the business of drug smuggling and using the money earned for funding acquisition and amassing of weapons for the revival of LTTE in both the countries. Lingam used his connections in the film industry for certain investments, investigators said and added that an in-depth probe was on to ascertain how the ill-gotten money was parked in the industry and also the money trail.

Sources in the NIA said investigators were also working on the inputs shared by Alla Pitchai who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in Ramanathapuram early this month in connection with the sensational Vizhinjam drugs and arms smuggling case in Kerala. Pitchai was alleged to have closed links with international drug peddlers in India and Sri Lanka and facilitated their activities in Tamil Nadu. Pitchai was also associated with Sabesan, a former LTTE intelligence wing member, who was arrested at Valsaravakkam here in 2021 in the same case.

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