An attempt by the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to undertake an illegal voyage to Australia was foiled by the Q-Branch police personnel of the district on Friday.
Sources said that a total of the 49 persons, including 48 refugees and an Indian national, were arrested.
The Sri Lankan refugees were nabbed from the pilgrim centre of Velankanni, while they were seeking accommodation at the lodges in the holy town.
This is the third incident this year where a batch of refugees had attempted the illegal voyage to Australia.
Initial investigations conducted by the Q-branch sleuths revealed that the 48 refugees from various camps in the State were ready to undertake the voyage to Australia.
An Indian national and a refugee have functioned as travel agents who were behind the illegal voyage of Lankan refugees.
There are as many as 35 men, four women including a six-month pregnant woman, six female children and four male children.
They have all assembled at Velankanni from various refugee camps in the State including Mettupalayam, Perambalur, Mandapam, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Dindigul, Madurai and Salem, on Thursday.
The two apprehended agents were identified as Indian national, David, from Kizhkattalai locality in Chennai, and an outside camp refugee Dharman alias Dharmaiyan from Puzhuthinallur in Chennai.
Police said that 32 men would be remanded under custody to the Judicial Magistrate Saraswati here on Friday, and rest of the group including women and children are expected to be sent back to their respective camps.
However, this time, no boats were seized, and the police personnel are investigating the modus operandi behind the escape attempt.