In pursuit of Sunil Kumar Bhadran (38) who was wanted in a child rape case, Kollam Police Commissioner Merin Joseph IPS and her team left for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Despite being unsure of the procedures that would follow once they landed, Merin and her team left with the resolve of bringing Sunil back to India.
The wanted, Sunil Kumar, is a native of Kollam and was working as a tile worker in Saudi Arabia. He assaulted his friend’s niece for three months while he was holidaying in Kerala in 2017.
The victim was a 13-year-old girl who belonged to a scheduled caste community. The abuse left her devastated and she eventually revealed what happened to her to her family. But by the time the police issued a lookout notice for Sunil, he had already fled to Saudi Arabia. The girl was then moved to the Government Mahila Mandiram rescue home in Karicode, Kollam district. Tragically, she took her own life in June 2017. Before the victim committed suicide, her paternal uncle, who had introduced Sunil Kumar to her family, had also taken his life.
Merin, who took charge as the Kollam Commissioner in June 2019, had reviewed pending cases with an emphasis on cases related to women and children.
Before becoming the Kollam Commissioner in June 2019, Merin had reviewed pending cases, with an emphasis on cases involving women and children.
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“I found this case and got to know that this man was absconding for almost two years. This was a case that had impacted public conscience and people were outraged at the crime. The International Investigation Agency of the Kerala police had been following up with Saudi police, we just strengthened these efforts,” she explained to The News Minute.
The case had not progressed despite a notice being issued by Interpol for Sunil Kumar in 2017.
This is a common occurrence as such cases require continuous follow-up and cooperation from the other country that is involved in the case.
The former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Saudi King Abdulla signed the India-Saudi Extradition Treaty in 2010. However, no extradition of a Keralite wanted for a case in his or her home state had occurred until now. The Kerala police were informed that Sunil was in custody in Saudi Arabia a couple of days ago. While most IPS officers would have sent junior officers to secure the accused, Merin decided that she herself would go.
“This was the first time that we would be doing such an extradition. I wanted to learn how it works so that I could, in turn, share the knowledge with my team. There was a lot of paperwork, it involved the CBI and the Interpol too. We also had to make documents to bring him back. This is why I decided to go. I am also passionate about cases involving women and children, and this was a man I believed should be brought back to face trial,” she told TNM.
After the swift action taken by Merin and her team, Sunil Kumar Bhadran became the first person in Kerala’s history to be extradited for a crime he or she committed in Kerala. This may help ensure that criminals who try to seek refuge in Saudi in the future would be brought back for justice to be served.
Originally published by: The News Minute