Detailed report on status of probe to be filed today
For a civil police officer, A.P. Ajeeb appears too powerful. There was nothing the senior officials could do about him, despite having evidence about his direct involvement in human trafficking through the Cochin International Airport for many years.
Even after a case was registered with him as the main cog in the human trafficking network, this police officer is still missing and the investigating team is yet to trace him. He went on medical leave from his post at the Nedumbassery police station a couple of months ago and is presently on unauthorised absence from duty. The last that was heard about him was about his move to secure anticipatory bail.
State Police Chief K.S. Balasubramanian told The Hindu that the case was transferred to the Crime Branch nearly a week ago and the State Police was tracking its missing man. He said that the probe would take time as it required scanning of the operations at CIAL as well as the other two airports in the State before the Intelligence Bureau took over immigration check from State Police.
Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had already said that the suspicious immigration processes made through all three airports in the State would be placed under the scanner.
Sathish Binoo, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural, told The Hindu that a detailed report on the status of the probe would be filed by Aluva DySP on Wednesday.
At present, only Ajeeb has been listed as accused in the case, which has since then been found to be spread across all airports in the State and involving a whole network of police personnel. However, senior officials in the force still sound sceptical about Ajeeb being penalised.
They pointed out that Ajeeb, who was transferred from his post at the airport by the then Superintendent of Police (Immigration) K.G. James, used his political connections to return to the post in no time. Mr. James, who is presently Kochi City Police Commissioner, said that the suspected officer was transferred twice, but to no lasting effect. During a short break away from the posting, Ajeeb was posted as the security officer of T.U. Kuruvilla, then Minister for Public Works.
It has also been pointed out that his network was limited not just to the other two airports in the State, but also to those in neighbouring States.
The ongoing inquiry, it is learnt, will focus on Ajeeb amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and his misusing the copies of passports of three passengers to secure mobile phone connections. The report now being based for the inquiry against the racket showed that Ajeeb used to operate five mobile phone connections, all of which recorded high traffic of calls between 10 p.m. and 8.30 a.m., while he was on duty. This is also the time when the majority of flights to the Gulf region were operated.
At the same time, the investigating officers are not optimistic about people who benefitted from the channel of illegal immigration operated by Ajeeb responding to their requests to give statements against him, which is mandatory for registering cases under the Emigration Act of 1983.
The ongoing inquiry is also attempting to track all those who have deposited money in the account operated by A.S. Pareed, Ajeeb’s father. Their statements will be the evidence on which the other accused officials in the racket could be pinned, it is said.