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High Court acquits 6 Tamil Nadu fishermen of drugs charges, 2 years after arrests

Six Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested and charged of smuggling heroin by the Sri Lankan navy were acquitted by the Jaffna High Court last week.

Despite 15 witnesses testifying for the prosecution, including naval officers, police officers and government officials, High Court judge Annalingam Premashankar said the prosecution’s evidence lacked credibility and cited further procedural errors and legal flaws in his ruling.

The six fishermen were identified following their arrest on April 1, 2017 as Shekhar Arul, Thirukkutty Ponnusamy, Subramaniam Thamilmani, Subramaniam Gajendran, Shankararaja Jayaseelan and Subramaniam Pakiyaraj, all from Karaikal.

Arrested off the Kankesanthurai (KKS) coast, the Sri Lankan navy alleged they had recovered over 8 kilos of heroin from them.

After being handed over to KKS police and brought before the Mallakam Magistrate’s Court, and continuously interrogated, the six were indicted on May 31, 2018, to be brought before the High Court on three charges of possessing, smuggling and trading and heroin.

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