Seeks to implead himself in plea filed by owner of Don No.1

The police officer investigating the collision between a ship and a fishing vessel off the Kerala Coast on March 1 has filed an application before the Madras High Court seeking to restrain m.v. Prabhu Daya — now anchored in the high seas off the Chennai shore — from sailing away till he completes the investigation.

The ship is suspected to have been involved in the accident with m.f.v. Don No.1. In the petition, M. Mahesh Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Alappuzha sub-division, sought to implead himself in an application filed by Jacob Antony of Thangasseri, owner of the fishing vessel.

Mr. Kumar alleged that the offending ship had not only sailed away after the crime, but there had also been an attempt to destroy evidence. Preliminary investigation revealed that the Captain Gordon Charles Pereira, Second Officer Prashobh Sugathan and his Seaman assistant Mayoor Virendra Kumar had “not adopted any precautionary measures to avert any untoward incidents.” The ship had not taken steps to divert its sailing course despite the presence of several fishing trawlers. This resulted in the accident causing the death of five fishermen.

The Second Officer's father had filed a petition with the Kerala police that his son, who was retiring to his cabin after his duty on March 3, was assaulted by an unknown person and thrown into the sea near the Sri Lankan coast. He was rescued by fishermen and handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy. The ship's Captain was responsible for both the incidents. It was therefore extremely necessary for the ship “to remain in our waters so as to enable us to complete our investigation in respect of both the crime.”

Mr. Kumar said the police had reliable information that the Captain and his crew had attempted to destroy evidence. Unless they were bound over, the police would be unable to conclude investigation.