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Priest wanted in human trafficking case surrenders

Father Kollannur was on the run after he was booked for an alleged attempt to smuggle workers to the U.S.

January 20, 2013 10:48 am | Updated November 16, 2021 11:09 pm IST - KOCHI

Father Jaison Kollannur, former secretary of the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM), who was on the run after a case was registered against him for an alleged attempt to smuggle unskilled labourers to the U.S., surrendered before the investigation officer on Saturday.

Father Kollannur and three other former office-bearers of KCYM got anticipatory bail from the High Court on condition that they surrender before Amoose Mamman, Assistant Commissioner of Police, District Crime Records Bureau, who led the investigation in the case.

The police registered a case on the basis of a complaint referred to the State Police by the U.S. Consulate, Chennai, which detected an attempt to smuggle in four unskilled labourers under the guise of participants at an educational fair at NASA, Houston.

During investigation it was found that KCYM officials in connivance with Tom Boby, CEO, and Suby Kurian, HR Manager of Shadwell, a training centre, had collected money from 40-odd persons, mostly from coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram, on the promise to take them to the U.S. The victims were convinced that the U.S. had good scope for unskilled labour.

Father Kollanur cooperated with the investigation for a while, after Tom Boby and Suby Kurian were arrested, but then went into hiding after he was removed from his official capacity as secretary of KCYM.

Even though the police searched for him in Thrissur and Palakkad, based on information of his presence there, he could not be traced.

He showed up along with Raju Thomas, Titu Thomas and Jomon Thomas at the office of Mr. Mamman at around 10 a.m. on Saturday and their arrests were recorded. They were later produced before the Aluva Judicial First Class Magistrate and released on bail. All the accused surrendered their passports to the court.

According to the terms of the bail, the accused should report before the investigation officer on every Friday or as and when required for investigation. “The investigating team has collected almost all evidence required from the accused and is processing the documents seized,” said Mr. Mamman.

The greatest challenge that the police are facing now is to collect the evidence from 40-odd victims. So far, the police could interview and collect evidence only from 28 victims. After the investigation started, seven victims went abroad on other job placements.

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