In a joint anti-smuggling operation, eight Sri Lankan fishermen were detained along with their four fibre boats and four Indian fishermen along with one fishing boat by the Customs Division and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at 27 nautical miles southwest of Dhanushkodi in Gulf of Mannar, on charges of smuggling contrabands
A press release stated that based on an intelligence input, the joint team undertook the operation and seized 330 kg of sea cucumber and 594 kg raw turmeric, which were being exchanged between the smuggling teams during the early hours.
The apprehended crew and the seized contrabands were handed over to the Customs department for further probe, the ICG said.
The sea cucumbers are prohibited species as per the Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Illegal transaction of turmeric and other commodities across the IMBL is an offence under the Customs Act, 1962, the release added.
The Central and State agencies including the Q Branch and Marine Police also conducted inquiries with the Sri Lankans, an official said.
A senior officer in the Coast Guard Station said the accused, whose names were given as Millroy Prananthu, 42, S. Silvester, 43, Jude Mensanlok, 41, Prasath Ranga Kumar, 40, Dinesh Jeevanth, 34, Antony Rokson, 35, Rickmond Dias, 37, and Fernando, 45 -- all from Puthalam district, Sri Lanka, were handed over to the Marine police, Mandapam.
The Marine police booked the Sri Lankan nationals under the Indian Passport Act and among other sections and produced them before a court in Rameswaram, after which the eight people were being taken to Puzhal Central prisons, Chennai, the police added.
The names of the four fishermen held from Ramanathapuram district are: Ishak and Ubaydullah of Marakayarpattinam, Mohideen and Wasim of Mandapam.