NIA nabs absconding accused from Tamil Nadu in Sri Lankan human trafficking case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NIA nabs absconding accused from Tamil Nadu in Sri Lankan human trafficking case

Oct 22, 2023 08:27 PM IST

The accused, 39-year-old Mohamed Imran Khan alias Haja Najerbheeden, had been on the run since June 2021

A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Bengaluru on Sunday apprehended an absconding accused from Tamil Nadu in a Sri Lankan human trafficking case.

NIA ad taken over the case from local police given its international dimensions. (Representative Image)
NIA ad taken over the case from local police given its international dimensions. (Representative Image)

The accused, 39-year-old Mohamed Imran Khan alias Haja Najerbheeden, had been “on the run since June 2021”, the agency said.

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An Absconder Tracking Team (ATT) of the NIA in Bengaluru monitored his movements over the past several months, leading to his capture from an undisclosed location in Tamil Nadu’s Theni District.

“Investigations revealed that Imran Khan is a pivotal figure in a broader conspiracy involving international human trafficking,” the NIA said. “He acted as the main conduit responsible for transporting Sri Lankan nationals from their home country to India and subsequently to other nations.”

During preliminary investigations, the accused who hails from Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram was found to be a smuggler with a long-standing history of illegal activities in the region.

“He was a fugitive wanted by multiple law enforcement agencies for his involvement in various illicit operations,” the NIA said.

The case originated when the Mangalore South Police acted on credible intelligence, revealing that a group of Sri Lankan nationals had arrived and taken residence in Mangalore without possessing valid documents. This operation had led to the arrest of 38 Sri Lankan nationals in June 2021 from Mangalore.

“Investigations revealed that Sri Lankan nationals were brought to Mangalore from Sri Lanka via Tamil Nadu and Bengaluru,” the NIA said.

The agency found that the accused had collaborated with a Sri Lankan national named Eesan who was formerly associated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a banned terror outfit in the island nation. They had devised a plan to illegally transport 38 Sri Lankan nationals from their home country to various locations within Tamil Nadu.

“They lured these individuals with false promises, including the prospect of obtaining legitimate documentation for emigration to Canada and securing employment opportunities,” the NIA said. “The accused Imran Khan, along with other co-accused, trafficked Sri Lankan nationals to various locations in Bengaluru and Mangaluru.”

The federal agency had taken over the case from local police given its international dimensions. NIA had filed a preliminary charge sheet against five Indian accused in this case– Dhinakaran alias Ayya, Kasi Viswanathan, Rasool, Satham Ushen, and Abdul Muheetu, in October 2021. “To date, a total of 13 suspects have been arraigned in the case by the NIA,” the agency said, adding that investigations in this case remain open.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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