Today's Paper

Arms smuggling routes being identified

C. Jaishankar

Police obtain inputs on procurement network for LTTE in Tamil Nadu

RAMANATHAPURAM: The police have sought the help of the Coast Guard to study the sea routes used for smuggling arms and explosives from the Tamil Nadu coast to Sri Lanka.

The issue has assumed significance in the background of the recent seizures of arms, ammunition and components of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the Navy and the Coast Guard.

Though there is no definitive information about where the IED components were loaded into the boat seized on Monday, the police have some inputs on where the loading into the Sri Lankan boat seized by the Navy on Wednesday took place.

One assumption is that the smugglers loaded the IED components at a seashore hamlet between Tuticorin and Thiruchendur, nearly 16 km from Tuticorin.

Key person

According to statements made to the police by those arrested during Wednesday's seizure, Kannan, a prominent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealem operative, monitored the loading by nearly 15 persons. They also stated that Kannan, who was heading an arms procurement network for the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, distributed money to them. He is stated to have operated under different names at different places.

S.S. Krishnamoorthy, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ramanathapuram Range, told The Hindu that the teams investigating the component seizure cases needed to gather more information about those involved. Some of the Coast Guard vessels, particularly hovercraft models, can operate in shallow, deep and sand dune areas.

All the five persons arrested in the two cases would be sought to be kept in custody for a minimum of 10 days. They would be taken to the suspected loading centres.

It is expected that the topography of the arms smuggling routes along the coast off Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts, link roads to the loading and landing centres, and other details would be identified during the interrogation.