A security alert has been sounded in India following the seizure of ammunition on the Tamil Nadu coast and the arrest of four Indian men who allegedly helped former Tamil Tiger (LTTE) guerrillas fleeing Sri Lanka take shelter in India.
Also unearthed from prime accused Selvakumar alias Jeeva's property in Rameshwaram were Rs.800,000 in Indian currency and half a kilo of heroin valued at 100,000 dollars in the global market, official sources here said.
Jeeva, who has a criminal past, told his interrogators that he transferred to his boat a man and a woman from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from the mid sea Dec 24 and brought them to Tamil Nadu. They were quietly transported inland in a car, whose driver too has been arrested.
According to the 39-year-old Jeeva, a fisherman by profession, he has no idea about the present whereabouts of the pair who he says brought all that was buried in his hideout.
These included 22 live rounds of 9mm ammunition and a Thuraya satellite telephone the like of which the LTTE used in large numbers as it went down fighting last year.
Jeeva denied all knowledge of the heroin find. He went on to admit that he had helped bring in many former LTTE guerrillas into India since the Tigers were defeated and its top leader, Velupilllai Prabhakaran, was killed.
The admission stunned police and intelligence officials who are wondering why former LTTE fighters, if they were fleeing only for safety, would like to carry live ammunition and a satellite telephone with them.
Since the ammunition would be of no use without a weapon, the authorities are looking at the case - cracked following inputs from a central intelligence agency - seriously.
The others who have been taken into custody include Khaleel Rahman, 39, Pazhani Kumar, Jeeva's 35-year-old cousin brother, and Raju, the car driver who is 25-years-old. The arrests took place Tuesday.
Jeeva claimed that the money found in his hideout was what he had earned for smuggling sea cucumber, a delicacy, from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka. Fishing and trading in sea cucumber is banned in India.
Police and intelligence sources say Jeeva's confessions present a larger danger amid continuing heated attacks on the Indian government and some of its key functionaries by people associated with the LTTE.
A Tamil web site known to be controlled by LTTE sympathizers has sought to blame Home Minister P. Chidamabaram for the killing of LTTE political chief B. Nadesan who was allegedly shot dead along with others when they tried to surrender to the Sri Lankan military last year.
In the recent past, pro-LTTE literature has branded India a 'traitor' and poured scorn on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, a key backer of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for failing to save the LTTE.
Official sources said Jeeva's statements were being studied intensely and a security alert had been sounded for Indian VIPs who the LTTE looks down upon.
India outlawed the LTTE after a suicide bomber blew up former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. India is known to have given both overt and covert help to Sri Lanka as it battled the Tamil Tigers in the final stages of the conflict. (IANS)