The moment Joginder Singh and Rajpreet Singh, the two absconding ASIs, connected their mobile phones to surf Internet using the WiFi at Kochi’s Hotel Casa Linda, Fort Kochi, an alarm sounded inside Punjab Police’s Mohali-based Control Room. After pinpointing the location of the ASIs, who were wanted in the case of misappropriation of Rs 6.65 crore after a raid at the house of priest Anthony Madassery in Jalandhar on March 29, Punjab Police alerted their counterparts in Kerala.
Kochi police DCP, Dr J Himnedranath, told The Indian Express: “After getting details from Punjab Police we reached hotel reception and matched the photos of both along with other ID proofs provided by Punjab Police and we nabbed them and recovered some amount of money and documents from them which have been handed over to the Punjab Police.”
According to Kochi city police Assistant Commissioner, V Hamsa, the duo reached Kochi on Monday evening. “They claimed that they wanted to move to Thiruvananthapuram and spend some days there. That is what they have claimed to us. But, from Delhi they got the train to Kochi only and hence they landed here. An auto driver took them to a homestay at Fort Kochi. As part of our routine vigilance, we have asked all hotels and home stays to inform police about anything or anyone suspicious. Normally, Sikh people don’t take accommodation in home stays here. So, we developed suspicion and decided to inspect their documents. Besides, Punjab Police have been trying to track down them. When they used the WiFi facility at the lodge, Punjab Police also came to know about the presence of the absconding duo.”
While SIT head IG (Crime) P K Sinha could not be contacted as he was in Kerala Wednesday, police sources said that investigators were now looking into the reason why the absconding cops picked Kochi, the native place of Father Madassery, as the place to hide.
The SIT has already applied for transit warrant of the accused which may be granted Thursday and they will be brought back for further investigation.
According to police sources, the duo had procured some phone numbers — not in their names — that they were using to stay in touch with their family and friends in Punjab. The ASIs first fled to Rajasthan and from there reached Kerala.
The SIT, meanwhile, is tight-lipped on the money misappropriated by the two. It has been learnt that they have transferred some amount to USA and France, while some of it has been kept hidden.
The possibility of involvement of more cops, including senior officers, has not been ruled out, said police sources.
Meanwhile, on the order of EC, Gurshrandeep Singh has been appointed as SSP Khanna is the place of Dhruv Dahiya.
The transfer comes a month after the incident.
On March 29, Khanna police team of nearly 18 policeman had raided Father Madassery’s house and had seized Rs 16.65 crore from his residence. Out of that money, only Rs 9.66 crore was handed over to the Khanna SSP on the same day and remaining Rs 6.65 crore was allegedly misappropriated by both the ASIs. Khanna police had handed over Rs. 9.66 crore to IT department same day.
(WITH INPUTS FROM ENS, KOCHI)