Kochi: Interrogation of the 19 foreigners, apprehended on board a dhow by a naval warship off Bitra Island, started today with police claiming 15 of them were Pakistani nationals.
There were 15 Pakistani nationals and four Iranians in the dhow which was intercepted by warship INS Rajput on Friday when they were sailing suspiciously, police said.
The crew were being questioned by a joint team of Navy, Coast Guard, Intelligence Bureau and police in Lakshadweep, top police sources in the Union Territory said.
Confirming the presence of the Pakistani nationals, the sources said that the men had identity cards displaying their nationalities.
INS Rajput, a destroyer warship, was on patrol in the Exclusive Economic Zone west of Bitra when it spotted the dhow sailing suspiciously.
The dhow with the 19 foreigners was escorted to Kavaratti in the Lakshadweep Islands and handed over to local police late last night, they said.
The Navy`s operation came just four days after India deployed a multi-ship force in the Arabian Sea, which has been witnessing a spurt in piracy in the recent weeks, to ward off the sea brigands operating there.