By Pearson Lenekar S.R.
CHENNAI: The National Investigative Agency (NIA) conducted searches at the residence of Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) party functionary and YouTuber Saatai Duraimurugan in Shanmuga Nagar, Tiruchy on Friday early morning. The searches were also conducted at other party functionaries' premises in several cities, including Coimbatore, Tenkasi and Sivaganga. NTK supporter and YouTuber Thennagam Vishnu's residence too was searched.
In May 2022, the Omalur police in Salem district registered a case against two people for allegedly making guns and ammunition. The accused were M Naveen Chakravarthy (25) from Kitchipalayam, a BCA graduate, and J Sanjay Prakash (25) from Shevapet, an engineering graduate.
During a vehicle check, the duo was arrested after being found in possession of two pistols, ammunition and gunpowder and was booked under the Explosive Substances Act.
In July 2022, the case was taken up by the NIA, and later, another person A Kabilar, alias Kabilan, (25) was arrested for helping the duo.
Raids were conducted by the NIA teams on the premises belonging to suspects in Chennai, Tiruchy, Coimbatore, Sivaganga and Tenkasi.
“Extensive searches by the agency led to the seizure of one laptop, seven mobiles, eight SIM cards, a few memory cards and four pen drives, along with documents and books related to the terror organisation LTTE and its late leader, Prabhakaran,” said an NIA official press statement.
The agency claimed the duo was inspired by LTTE and wanted to establish a similar outfit and wage an armed struggle in Tamil Nadu.
In Tiruchy, the agency conducted searches at the house of NTK party functionary and YouTuber Sattai Duraimurugan at Shanmuga Nagar on Thursday. As he was not at his house at the time of raid, the NIA team comprising four officials issued a summons to his wife asking him to appear before the NIA office in Chennai on February 7.
Speaking to TNIE Duraimurugan said, “A book written by Pazha Nedumaran on LTTE leader Prabhakaran and ‘Thiruppi Adippen’ , a book authored by NTK leader Seeman, were seized. As I am in Chennai, officials questioned my wife and handed over the summons copy to her. More than seven NTK functionaries, including me, have been summoned to appear before the NIA on various dates.”
The NIA summons said Duraimurugan was familiar with the circumstances of the case filed under Explosive Substance Act in Salem.
Meanwhile, in Coimbatore, searches were carried out at the residences of two NTK supporters — S Murugan (50) of Kalapatti and M Ranjith Kumar (33) of Alandurai — and electronic gadgets were seized.
Officials said that Murugan works in an IT firm in Bengaluru and they have seized a mobile phone from him. Ranjith Kumar was working with the IT wing of NTK in 2020-21 and is engaged with flex board design and printing work. The officials seized a laptop, two mobile phones, memory cards and a SIM card from his residence.
In Madurai, the house of Vishnu Pradap (27), NTK’s IT wing district secretary, in Pagaivendran village near Ilayangudi was searched. Sources said he has a YouTube channel namely ‘Thennagam’, and the officials seized his mobile phone and books on Prabhakaran’s life.
They also conducted an inquiry with NTK Ilayangudi constituency secretary Anandan and asked him to appear at the NIA office in Chennai on February 6.
Functionary gets nod to appear on Monday
The NIA on Friday submitted before the Madras HC that it has accepted the request of youth wing office-bearer Karthick, alias Idumbavanam Karthi, and four others to appear before the agency on Monday.
Additional Solicitor General AR L Sundaresan submitted before the division bench of Justices MS Ramesh and Sunder Mohan when an urgent petition filed by Karthick came up for hearing.
“The petitioner was issued summons to appear on Friday. He has sought time to appear on February 5,” the ASG told the court. The petitioner’s counsels submitted that the summons directing Karthi to appear before NIA office at 9.30 am on Friday was issued at 6 am on the same day.
“At that time he was heading to Tiruchy to take part in a protest,” they said.