Sri Lanka’s underworld figure Angoda Lokka, who died under mysterious circumstances in Coimbatore in July, was developing a local network for smuggling drugs under the garb of supplying protein supplements to gyms, probe agencies suspect.
“The protein supplement business could be a cover for dealing in drugs, given that Lokka was part of the syndicate in Sri Lanka which ran a major drug trafficking racket.
“Just a few days ago, the Sri Lankan authorities seized 42 kg of heroin at the instance of one of his close accomplices, Shabdeen Zubair, who was arrested along with three others,” said a government official privy to the findings.
The investigators have also detected a “hawala” channel being run from Dubai, through which funds were also being managed for Lokka. “Payments for the heroin consignments smuggled from Pakistan to Sri Lanka by maritime route are made through ‘hawala’, usually in Dubai,” the official said.
During interrogation, one of the three suspects arrested in the case by the Coimbatore police made key disclosures in this regard. Following the leads, the investigators have zeroed in on some boat operators in Rameswaram having suspected links with Lokka.
Lokka had fled from Sri Lanka after the gang he was part of attacked a prison bus in February 2017, killing a rival nicknamed “Samayan” and five other jail inmates, besides two prison officials. He obtained a Sri Lankan passport in the name of Sadun el Valage before going underground.
It is suspected that he illegally entered India by sea, at the instance of his gang leader Madhush, who along with one Kanjipani Imran then operated from Dubai.
Madhush and Imran were extradited to Sri Lanka last year and they are currently lodged in a Colombo jail.
Lokka, who had arranged for himself an Aadhaar card in the name of Pradeep Singh, had been living in Coimbatore since October 2018. His phone call records suggested that he was in regular touch with some elements in Pakistan.
Investigations are under way to determine if a part of the heroin landing in Sri Lanka was being diverted to India by sea.