KOCHI: In an incident that has all the makings of a movie plot, the Kerala Police on Tuesday nabbed two Punjab policemen, who allegedly absconded with Rs 6.65 crore seized during their raid at the residence of the aide of rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal in Jalandhar.
The arrest came after an alert by a Fort Kochi hotel, where they stayed, which found the two men were acting suspiciously.
Also, the Kochi City Police had issued a circular post the Sri Lankan blasts asking people to step up vigil, especially in homestays and hotels in the city.
The case assumed national importance after a huge amount of cash was seized from the residence of Father Antony Madassery in Partappura, Jalandhar, who is a close aide of Mulakkal. Antony who was booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for possession of unaccounted money earlier alleged the police had recovered a sum of Rs 16.65 crore from him, but they reported only about R9.65 crore was confiscated.
According to the police officers, ASI Joginder Singh who is a resident of Phase I Urban Estate, Patiala, and ASI Rajpreet Singh, a resident of H.No. 86, New Mahindra Colony, Patiala, were arrested from a hotel in Fort Kochi, where they were hiding. The Khanna police recovered unaccounted money from the residence of Antony in Partappura, Jalandhar on March 29. According to him, the police had misappropriated over R6.65 crore.
Following this, a case was registered at Mohali on April 12 under sections 406 and 34 of the IPC and Sections 13 (1) and 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act after a probe by the SIT headed by IG (crime) Praveen Kumar Sinha.
The police officers were booked along with another person in connection with the incident. Punjab state crime unit has arrested one Pathankot resident Surinder Singh in connection with misappropriation after the priest had alleged R6.65 crore had gone missing from the total amount of R16.65 crore seized from his home.
“We had issued an alert to the hotels and home stay owners to inform about their guests in the wake of the recent Sri Lanka blasts. The hotel owners have been directed to alert about those staying without valid documents. This led to the arrest of the police officers who were found suspicious. We are verifying further details about them,” said Kochi City police Commissioner S Surendran. The Kochi police have intimated the matter to the Punjab police.
City Police officers said the arrests were made after conducting intensive raids in the city based on specific information that two persons under fake names and fake address were staying in Kochi under suspicious circumstances.
Officers said the accused confessed during questioning they are officers of Punjab police under suspension in the misappropriation case. Their luggage and other belongings have been seized after recording the details and preparing mahassar, they added.
Meanwhile, Punjab Police DGP tweeted that based on specific inputs by Punjab Police, the Kerala Police arrested the ASIs. Praveen K Sinha is leaving for Kochi to arrest the two accused.