The Indian police have recommended an investigation by the Crime and Intelligence (C&I) wing of the territorial police into the attempt to ferry Sri Lankan Tamils to Australia from Puducherry.
A communication seeking a detailed probe by C&I has been sent to the Indian police headquarters, a senior officer told The Hindu.
Following a tip-off from residents of Periyakalapet about suspicious movements of some outsiders in their locality, the Kalapet police swooped on the house where the strangers have been staying for some time, says the Hindu.
The detainees revealed they were Tamils from Sri Lanka.
A person named Jana had brought them to Kalapet and then to be ferried to Australia, Indian police said.
Of the seven detained including a five-year-old boy, five of them have been staying in Sri Lankan Tamil refugee camps in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for the past several years. Two others reached Puducherry via Chennai by air from Sri Lanka very recently, said an officer who investigated the case.
According to Superintendent of Police (North) S. Ramaraju, all detained persons have relatives settled in Australia.
On the advice of their relatives abroad, the Sri Lankan Tamils got in touch with Jana believed to be residing in Chennai, with the request to ship them to Australia.
Two of the detainees - Nandhagopan and Sasikaran - paid Jana Rs. 1.5 lakh and Rs. 75,000 respectively.
Jana had promised to ferry them to Australia in a few days, the officer said.
A similar attempt was made to ferry around 150 Sri Lankan Tamils in a mechanized fishing boat from Thengaithittu harbour a year ago.
In that case, investigations by the Crime Wing led to the arrest of eight persons.