Arms seizure: Indian NIA seeks info from Sri Lanka under treaty

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sought information about suspected Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) members from Sri Lanka under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) as part of the probe into the seizure of five AK 47 rifles from a foreign vessel off the Kerala coast in March this year.

The agency has also invoked various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the case, the New Indian Express reported.

It was on March 18 this year that a Sri Lankan fishing vessel, Ravihanshi, was intercepted by the Coast Guard from which 300kg of heroin, five AK 47 rifles and 1,000 pieces of ammunition were seized. The Narcotics Control Bureau registered a case first following the seizure of heroin and arrested six crew members — all Sri Lankan nationals.

The case related to the seizure of AK 47 rifles and ammunition was first registered at Vizhinjam police station which was later taken over by NIA. The national agency has so far arrested 15 persons of whom 10 are from Sri Lanka including three staying illegally in India.

During the probe, NIA found links of the accused with LTTE and that the smuggling of drugs and weapons was part of an attempt to revive the proscribed terrorist organisation. It was also found that many LTTE activists in Sri Lanka are behind the incident.