KOCHI: Two weeks after 100-odd people allegedly sailed out from Munambam on a modified fishing vessel, the special investigation team (SIT) probing the case has recorded the arrest of three persons.
The accused Anilkumar of Venganoor, Thiruvan-anthapuram, Prabhu Dandapani, 30, and Ravi Raja, 31, of Madangir, New Delhi, were in the custody of the SIT for the past few days. They have been charged with various provisions of Indian Passport Act and Emigration Act and various Sections (109, 120 (B), 468, 471) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Mr Vijay Sakhare, Inspector- General of Police, Kochi Range, told reporters on Friday that the police had identified five kingpins of the mafia that facilitated the illegal migration. “We suspect that the four out of the five suspects left with the group on January 12. We are searching for the remaining one who is still in the country,” Mr. Sakhare said. The mafia behind the illegal migration may have attempted a similar operation in the past. “It is a possibility. However, we cannot confirm it without solid evidence. An investigation is underway,” he said.
Sreekanthan, the prime accused in the case, is a Sri Lankan national and police had recovered numerous bank passbooks and five Sri Lankan passports from his house. To a question whether Sreekanthan has any connection with the terrorist outfit, LTTE, he said it was being probed.
Mr. Sakhare confirmed that the arrested accused were not the prime organisers. They only had arranged the boat purchase and helped the group while staying in Kochi.
He said an alert was earlier sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and various other central agencies. A lot of illegal money transactions had taken place for the act, he said.
Meanwhile, the destination of the migrants is still unclear as the officer declined to reveal whether it was Australia or New Zealand....