KOCHI: Intensifying the probe into the case in which five Kerala women were rescued by Malayalee organisations from the clutches of a human trafficking racket in Kuwait, the Kochi city police have invoked IPC Section 370 (exporting, selling a person as slave or detains a person against his/her will as a slave) against the accused and filed a report before a local court here. Though the police had earlier invoked only sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation), section 370 was added after the police could primarily collect more evidence and statement from the victims who narrated the brutal ordeal they had suffered after they were taken to Kuwait via Dubai and Sharjah promising jobs as baby sitters and hospital staff.
Invoking section 370 would enable the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which had already conducted a preliminary inquiry into the incident, to officially take over the probe. “Charging the accused with section 370 will the pave for the NIA to take over the investigation. Section 370 is a scheduled offence under the NIA Act,” said lawyer Nishin George V B, who filed a complaint on behalf of the husband of one of the victims before the chief minister’s office, ministry of home affairs and the NIA.
“We added section 370 against the accused and a search is on to nab them identified as Ajumon A R, M K Gassali alias Majeed and Shameer. Currently, the accused have gone into hiding and we are trying to locate them,” said a police officer.
The police said Ajumon and Shameer were the two agents who had run the recruitment drive as directed by Majeed, who operated from Dubai and Kuwait. The recruitment took place between December 2021 and February 2022 after the racket pasted posters in public places seeking applications for the jobs of baby sitters in Kuwait. “We collected details from the persons in Kuwait who intervened and rescued the women from the custody of Majeed,” the officials said.