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Reports say police officer misled chief minister

The superintendent of police was specifically instructed by Vijayan to look into the abduction case as soon as the news broke

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who also holds the Home portfolio, has been the target of attack over the case of an honour killing case in Kottayam district this week, but it now appears that he may have been misled by a senior police officer.

Local media reported that the former superintendent of police, Kottayam, Mohammad Rafeeq had been asked by the chief minister to look into the matter, and that he briefed the CM that the deputy superintendent was investigating.

The facts were otherwise. The 23-year-old youth Kevin P. Joseph was abducted by a 13-man team, and his body was found on Monday morning in the Chaliyekara river in the south of the state.

Joseph had married Neenu, a 19-year-old girl from Thenmala in the south of the state, but Neenu’s family members, particularly her father Chacko and brother Syanu Chacko were opposed to their marriage.

The criticism against police is that if they had acted immediately after Joseph’s father and Neenu lodged complaints, the murder could have been averted.

The SP was specifically instructed by the chief minister to look into the abduction case as soon as television channels broke the news, but there was an apparent dereliction of duty on the SP’s part.

Rafeeq, however, denied the news report, stating that he had only heard the news of the abduction when he met the chief minister, and that he had immediately instructed the deputy superintendent of police to take action.

Rafeeq has since been transferred from his post, and a departmental inquiry against him has been ordered. An additional inspector general of police, Harishankar has replaced Rafeeq as the superintendent of police, Kottayam.

Police have so far taken eight persons into custody in the honour killing case, but Neenu’s mother Rehna is still on the run. Police suspect she is in hiding somewhere in Tamil Nadu.

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