Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 04 March 2024 7.53 PM IST

Police criticized for handling missing cases; Investigations under scrutiny


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In Kollam city, a troubling incident unfolded when the accused abandoned Abigail at Ashramam ground, creating a challenge for the state police. This action resulted in significant embarrassment for law enforcement. The police claim of arresting the accused was effectively refuted.

Both Pallikal and Oyur region police have undergone scrutiny. Extensive checks were conducted on the cameras. The investigation's inadequacy in Kollam city became apparent due to a lack of thoroughness. Notably, the grounds are situated close to key police hubs: the city police headquarters, AR camp and crime branch office.

Abigail's abduction occurred at 4:30 pm on Monday. Although the information surfaced promptly, vehicle blockages delayed the investigation. This delay contradicted the government's directive for immediate action on missing person reports. Had initial intersection checks been conducted, the accused might have been apprehended before reaching their hideout. Furthermore, delays in coordinating officials from various stations hindered progress. By the time nighttime searches intensified, the child had already been concealed. Exhaustive searches of forests, mountains, quarries, and locked buildings throughout the night yielded no results.

Despite widespread circulation of Abigail's picture and the prime accused's sketch, questions arose regarding the police's vigilance as she managed to enter the city with the child. The woman boarded an auto near Kollam KSRTC stand, an area with a police aid post. This incident occurred during a period of high alert at rail and bus stations.

Another issue emerged in Kochi, where the Panangad police delayed investigating a 20-year-old missing person case for over a week instructing family members to conduct inquiries. Police action only commenced after relatives filed a petition in the High Court.

Similar lapses occurred in the case of Kochi's CA student, Michelle Shaji's parents, whose disappearance across different stations was not investigated due to jurisdictional disputes. Tragically, their bodies were discovered in Kochi Kayal the following day.

When Neenu reported her husband Kevin's abduction in Kottayam, the police failed to locate him. His body was found the next day. An Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) was dismissed after it was revealed he had taken bribes from the kidnapping gang.

Key recommendations:
1. Immediate registration of FIR and initiation of search upon receiving a missing person report.
2. Wireless messages alone are insufficient for responding to missing complaints.
3. Establishment of specialized teams to investigate cases involving missing children and women.

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