Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 20: Around 35 fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were arrested more than a month ago from near the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in the Indian Ocean, and tried and fined 25,000 Pounds Sterling, were on Monday handed over to the Indian Coast Guard, a defence statement said.

The fishermen had ventured to fishing areas in the deep sea, around 230 nautical miles near the BIOT -- an archipelago of 58 islands covering some 640,000 sq km of ocean.

The area is a British Overseas Territory, located approximately halfway between East Africa and Indonesia, and administered from London, the statement said.

The fishermen were arrested on September 29, tried at BIOT and fined 25,000 British Pounds, it said.

One boat has been seized as the fine was not paid, while another boat and its 35 crew members were released, it said.

They were brought off Vizhinjam on BIOT patrol vessel 'Grampien Endurance' and on their own fishing boat. They were handed over at sea to Indian Coast Guard ships 'Anagh' and 'C 441', the statement said.

The fishermen are expected to arrive at Vizhinjam around 7:30 pm where they will be medically examined and interrogated by agencies concerned.

Subsequently, they will be handed over to the Fisheries Department for safe passage to Thengapattinam in Tamil Nadu, the statement added.

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New Delhi, Dec 11: India has described as "fake" and "completely fabricated" a media report claiming that a "secret memo" was issued by New Delhi in April to take "concrete" measures against certain Sikh separatists, including Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Sunday that the report is part of a "sustained disinformation campaign" against India and the outlet that published it is known for propagating "fake narratives" peddled by Pakistani intelligence.

The report was published by online American media outlet "The Intercept".

"We strongly assert that such reports are fake and completely fabricated. There is no such memo," Bagchi said.

"This is part of a sustained disinformation campaign against India. The outlet in question is known for propagating fake narratives peddled by Pakistani intelligence. The posts of the authors confirm this linkage," he added.

"Those who amplify such fake news do so only at the cost of their own credibility," Bagchi said, responding to media queries on the report.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau levelled the allegation of "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Nijjar on Canadian soil on June 18.

India strongly dismissed the charges, terming them "absurd".

"The Intercept", in its report, claimed that the Indian government issued instructions on a "crackdown scheme" against certain Sikh entities in western countries.

It further claimed that the secret memorandum issued by the MEA in April lists several "Sikh dissidents under investigation by India's intelligence agencies, including the Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar".