The special investigation team probing the alleged trafficking of several people in Munambam took one more suspect into custody on Tuesday. Tamil Nadu native Ravi Sanoop Raja, who resides in New Delhi, was taken into custody. According to reports, Ravi is suspected to be a facilitator who arranged for the migration of over 100 people from Munambam.
According to the New Indian Express, officers stated that Ravi was brought to Kochi on Monday evening and will be interrogated further before his arrest is recorded. The police hoped to unearth more information regarding where the group was headed.
Last week, the police discovered 70 abandoned bags with clothes and dried food from the coast of Kochi, who led to suspicions of a human trafficking racket. The Indian Navy and the coast guard are currently attempting to locate the Devmatha boat which left Munambam on January 12. A Coast Guard official earlier told TNM that the group did not include individuals who had been trafficked against their will, but instead comprised of willing illegal migrants who wanted to leave their country on their own will.
An inquiry based on the evidence led the police to interrogate suspects in New Delhi including Prabhu Dandapani, a man who was also planning to get on the boat, but backed out due to overcrowding.
As part of the probe, teams were dispatched to Chennai, Coimbatore, New Delhi and other places. According to the police, Ravi’s relatives were also in the boat that left Kerala’s coast on January 12.
Police even arrested two Sri Lankan natives - Sreekanthan and Selvam - from Kerala who were suspected to have planned the voyage.
The group of migrants had reportedly stayed in houses rented in New Delhi’s Ambedkar Colony prior to January 5. They provided Delhi addresses when they arrived in Kerala on January 5, and booked rooms in various hotels and homesteads in Cherai, Chottanikkara, Malinakara and Kodungallur. The six resorts that the group stayed in at Cherai are being investigated by police.