The Kochi City Shadow Police on Wednesday arrested 14 Lankan refugees, who allegedly had plans to illegally sail off to Australia from Kochi, from a lodge near the Ernakulam KSRTC bus stand. According to the police, the Lankans had come to the city from various refugee camps in Tamil Nadu. The Special Branch Police arrested them on a tip-off from the city police commissioner.
The arrested were identified as Jude Sushanth, 22; Rajeev, 19; Kathiravel, 26; Vinod Kumar, 19; Tamizh Selvan, 27; Bhuvaneswar, 21; Gunasekharan, 40; Bhaskaran, 37; Murukayyan, 34; Panjeshwaran, 29; Nithyakumar, 19; Vineethkumar, 19; Deepan, 21, and Muthulingam, 43. According to police, the group was all set to sail off to Australia on a country-made boat.
“A thorough probe will be done on the circumstances which led them to stay in the city, the agent who brought them to Kochi and their plan. It will also to be verified if they had given money to a middleman,” said K G James, police commissioner.
The cops approached the Tamil Nadu Q-Branch police to inquire if the Lankans should be sent back to the refugee camps or handed over to the Tamil Nadu police.
The Q-Branch police have been investigating about the inter-state racket that traffic people to Australia on country-made vessels.