An attempt by a group of 24 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to escape to Australia clandestinely from India by a ferry has been foiled by the “Q Branch” police.
The police have secured Nagalingam, Krishnaraj and Robin, the inmates of the Vriddhachalam camp, and booked them under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
Nithy of Tiruchi, who masterminded the move, is absconding. Police sources told The Hindu that the refugees, including six women, nine children, drawn from various parts of the State such as Gummidipoondi, Tirupur, Paramakkudi and Tiruchi, were promised safe passage to Australia.
Each of them was charged fees ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs 25,000. While Nithy was making arrangements for their travel, the three inmates of the Vriddhachalam camp were colluding with him in the covert operation. The refugees were brought to Konankuppam at Mangalampettai post on the Vriddhachalam–Udumalpet road two days ago and accommodated in the cottages of a church. However, when they extended their stay for two more days, caretakers of the church grew suspicious and alerted the “Q Branch.” The 24 refugees were sent back to their respective camps.