THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Police on Monday recommended an NIA investigation into the case pertaining to the interception of a vessel with 12 members on board off the Alappuzha coast. The decision was taken after finding that the case was not under the jurisdiction of the State Police. However, the final decision has to be taken by the state government.
State Police chief T P Senkumar said that the police submitted the report to the government. “Though we had submitted the report, the decision has to be made by the government. As this case was reported at the high seas, the state police have no role in the investigation. However, the investigation will go on till the decision is made”, he said.
Meanwhile, mystery looms large on the arrests of the 12-member crew suspected to be from Balochistan in Pakistan as the police ascertained on Monday that they were not fishermen.
The investigating officer, Vizhinjam SI J Pradeep , told ‘Express’ that the police did not find any substantial evidence to prove that they were fishermen. “Prima facie, there is nothing to prove that ‘Barooki’ was a fishing boat apart from seizing an ‘unused’ fishing net. Though the accused persons were repeatedly saying that they were fishermen and got stuck in the middle of sea following an engine damage, there is nothing to prove the same. Moreover, there are more reasons to suspect them including the seizure of a satellite phone and 10 Sim cards. However, we will request the magistrate to seek their custody for interrogation only after the decision on the investigation of the case.
He also added that more details including the tracking down of signals from the satellite phone would be taken in the coming days as the phone had been handed over to C-DAC , Thiruvananthapuram unit for further inspection.
According to sources, two among the team were found to be speaking Hindi. All of them co-operated with the interrogation and forensic procedures. They might be carriers of some people who used them to carry the contraband. We suspect that they might have dumped the contraband into the sea. There were also unconfirmed reports that the accused persons were heading to Tamil Nadu for a land deal”, sources pointed out.
The interrogation was done by the Vizhinjam police along with the state wing of national intelligence and other central investigation agencies including NIA. Language experts arrived on Monday for helping the sleuths as some of them are speaking a mix of Iranian and Urdu.
Meanwhile, Judicial First Class Magistrate of Neyyattinkara T D Baiju remanded the 12 accused persons to the judicial custody till July 17. They have been sent to the Neyyattinkara sub jail.
The 10 accused persons were identified as Abdul Majeed Baloth, Shah Majeed Baloth, Hussain Baloth, Shamsad Baloth, Mohammed Baloth, Ahamed Baloth, Abdul Baloth, Mahin Baloth, Shahid Baloth and Ibrahim Baloth.