What the Tamil Nadu police built as a case of major terror bust collapsed in a heap of contradictions when a city court acquitted all 13 people accused of involvement with the banned LTTE. The case relates to the arrest of some Sri Lankan Tamils in Chennai and seizure of communication devices, including satellite phones, from them in April 2009, during the last phase of the bloody ethnic war in the island nation that led to the decimation of the LTTE.
The Q brand of police’s criminal investigative division (CID) filed a case against 25 people, including 12 Sri Lankan nationals, allegedly members of the terror outfit, and 13 Indians. Police said while the Lankans smuggled communication devices and medicines from India to Sri Lanka for the LTTE, the Indians colluded with them.
However, charges were pressed against only 13 people as 11 were absconding and one died during the proceedings. Saying there were contradictions in the prosecution’s theory, XVII additional sessions court judge S Senthil Kumaresan on December 6, 2013 acquitted all the accused. He said there was no proof, either oral or documentary, to link them with the LTTE.
According to police, two Sri Lankans – Jaya Mohan and Jayanathan — and their two Indian accomplices were arrested from near Jayanthi theatre in Thiruvanmiyur on April 3, 2009 based on tip. A satellite phone, GPS devices, cash, a laptop and a British passport were seized from them. Based on the information given by the arrested, police raided a house in Taramani and seized more communication devices, medicines, pen torches and a night-vision rifle telescope. On April 17, another Sri Lankan, Moorthy, was arrested from Koovathur checkpost with satellite phones, GPS devices and a map showing the sea route between Sri Lanka and India.
Police said on December 31, 2008 five LTTE cadres set out from Katchatheevu island by a boat and reached Rameshwaram the next day. One of them, Jaya Mohan, stayed with an Indian accomplice in Taramani and in the last week of February 2009, he went back to Katchatheevu and smuggled in satellite phones and pen torch cells to India. These were sent to the LTTE from Cuddalore in March, they said.
Muthu, another cadre, went to Nagapattinam in January and sent several boxes of medicines for use by the LTTE, police said. In the same month, Kannan, who was operating from London, sent a laptop to Jaya Mohan through Jayanathan. Kannan also sent a washing machine which had 25 satellite phones, five receivers and one night-vision telescope hidden inside. The group also purchased around 25 boxes of medicine, police said.
Delivering the verdict, the judge said he had doubts about the confession statements allegedly made by the accused. Further, the investigating officers gave contradictory statements on the movement of the special team, seizure of devices and the time of examination of witnesses. The judge also pointed out that forensic experts, who examined the seized items, had said the telescope could also be used sighting animals. The prosecution also failed to reveal the messages exchanged through satellite phones, the judge said.
He said all the private witnesses had either turned hostile or did not support the prosecution’s case. “There were a total of 161 statements and they were all same. A mere glance would show one statement had been copied for all. Further, the prosecution did not cross-examine two of the key witnesses,” the judge said. (The Hindu)