NIA files in Sri Lankan drug case

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a First Information Report in the reported seizure of drugs, arms and ammunition from a Sri Lankan fishing vessel off Vizhinjam in March.

The FIR was filed before the Special Court for NIA cases, Ernakulam.

The Narcotics Control Bureau had earlier registered a case after the law enforcement agencies arrested six Sri Lankan nationals and reportedly seized 301kg of heroin, five AK 47 rifles and 1000 9mm ammunition from the vessel Ravihansi from Arabian Sea on March 25. Cases were booked against the foreign nationals under the provisions of the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Later, the Home Ministry directed the NIA to book a case after it was found that a Scheduled Offence under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, was committed by the accused. The NIA was brought in to investigate the crime considering the gravity of the offence and its ramifications on the national and international security, the FIR noted.

Incidentally, L.Y. Nandana, one of the six accused in the case, had earlier complained before the a trial court in Thiruvananthapuram that the officials of the Indian Coast Guard made him lie on a hot iron plate, which was used to cook food in the vessel, after keeping a lit gas stove beneath the metal sheet.

The accused, who suffered burn injuries on his back, was produced before the court. Later, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvananthapuram, on an instruction from the Additional Sessions Judge 1 of Thiruvananthapuram, directed the accused to be admitted to the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapruam.

The magistrate has sought information from the Coast Guard on the men who were on board the vessel on the day in which the alleged ill-treatment took place. The Chief Judicial Magistrate has posted the case for May 17.

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