G. Anand

Attack on airport security manager

Batave was attacked in front

of his house

Air-India operations manager among the accused

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have filed a charge sheet arraigning four persons, including Air India (AI) Airport Operations Manager S. Rajeshwaran, on charges of conspiracy and attempted murder in connection with the acid attack on AI airport security manager S.S. Batave in front of his rented house in April this year.

The investigation team filed the charge sheet on Monday in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate S. Gopalakrishnan.

The other accused are Asok Kumar, 29, assistant manager of Universal Aviation (UA), a manpower supply company contracted by Air India for handling baggage inside the airport); Santosh, 30, and Shojan, 30. The police case is that AI Operations Manager S. Rajeswaran and UA assistant manager Asok Kumar hired Santosh and Sojan (promising them money and employment) to kill Mr. Batave out of enmity. Mr. Batave suffered debilitating third-degree burns in the attack.

Stickler for rules

Mr. Batave, an upright officer and stickler for rules, had written several letters to the AI accusing Rajeswaran of corruption. He also exposed the corrupt nexus between certain UA staff and AI officials.

The police have submitted as evidence attested copies of e-mails Mr. Batave had sent to AI Station Manager A.H. Munaff exposing the corrupt practices and security breaches inside the airport.

Mr. Batave had expelled Asok Kumar’s brother, a UA staffer, for using a fake pass to enter the airport. He reprimanded Asok Kumar for loitering near an airliner preparing for take off on the latter’s off day. He denied Asok Kumar permanent airport entry pass on the ground of suspicious conduct.

Investigators said Mr. Batave had sent a secret letter to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), in charge of airport security, stating that certain ‘miscreants’ working for the UA had stolen the ‘locking pins’ of tractors used for manoeuvring parked aircraft. A CISF official allegedly leaked the letter to Asok Kumar, which was yet another reason why Mr. Batave was targeted, the police said.

The prosecution submitted details of calls made by the suspects to establish the conspiracy. The key evidence in the case is the statements given on their own by three UA staff which exposes the conspiracy to kill Mr. Batave.

Judicial First Class Magistrate-I V. Satheesh Kumar had recorded their statements under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

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