The police team investigating the attempted smuggling of unskilled labourers to the U.S. are confident of their case despite the accused getting a respite in the form of an anticipatory bail.

Father Jaison Kollannur, former secretary of Kerala Catholic Youth Movement, was listed as the main accused along with Tom Boby, the CEO of Shadwell, a training institute, for attempting to smuggle out 40 unskilled labourers disguised as participants for an educational fair at NASA.

Even though the priest was cooperating with the investigators, after Tom Boby and his HR manager Suby Kurian were arrested, he went missing soon after he was removed from KCYM’s official position. The investigating team tried to nab him from Thrissur and Palakkad, but could not do so.

The case was same with Titu Thomas, Raju Thomas and Jomon Thomas, all former office-bearers of KCYM. A police source said that they had apprehended one of them but had to release him when an advocate turned up showing a stay order from the court against the arrest.

The High Court of Kerala granted anticipatory bail to the accused on condition that they appear before the investigating officer on January 19. The police team under Amoose Mamman, Assistant Commissioner of Police, District Crime Records Bureau, is confident that the charges could be framed immediately after that.

“Collection of evidence against the accused has been completed. Till date, nearly 20 victims of the immigration racket have been interviewed and we are trying to get statements from rest of them. Seven victims have gone to Central Asian countries on other job placements since then,” said Mr. Mamman.

The investigating team is also planning to record their statements in front of a magistrate to prevent them from turning hostile during the trial. Most of the victims are from fishermen communities in Vizhinjam and Poovar, the coastal belt of Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council had earlier gone on record that the money collected, mostly through the network of KCYM, has been returned once the fraud was detected.

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