Young IPS officer brings rape accused to book

Jeddah: The extradition of an NRI worker, accused in a rape case in Kerala, was a diplomatic success for several reasons. India’s success rate in extraditing fugitives is abysmally low; only one in every three fugitives are being successfully extradited to India.

Unlike in other parts of the world, extradition of Indian fugitives from Gulf region is easier but many Indian law enforcement agencies are not keen on documentation and pursuing cases. However, a young lady police officer from Kerala proved that where there is a will, there is way. The Indian expatriate community was touched by her action.

The young IPS officer, Merin Joseph, a 29-year-old firebrand cop in Kerala, not only followed up the case but travelled all the way to Saudi Arabia not only to bring the person, who was accused in the rape of a teenage girl, but to understand and analyse the procedures that were involved with host countries.

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The officer, who wore black Abaya or Burqa, respecting the tradition of conservative Islamic country, spent three days in the Saudi capital and sent a stern warning to large number of Indian diaspora. Also, the Indian police won praise for their action. Merin cracked the rape case and arrested the accused from Riyadh.

The accused, Sunil Kumar Bhadran (38), a tile fixer in Riyadh was wanted in Kerala for the rape of a teenage girl in 2017. Bhadran who had been working in Saudi for many years was accused of raping the girl, the daughter of a family friend while he was on a vacation. The girl later committed suicide at a rehabilitation centre. By the time police identified Bhadran as the accused he had fled the country. Even though an Interpol lookout notice was issued against him, the case made little progress.

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It was only in June 2019 after Joseph took charge as Commissioner of Kollam she stumbled upon the two-year-old case while reviewing pending cases of crime against women. Following up on the lookout notice, Merin approached the CBI who in turn contacted the Interpol. The Interpol confirmed that Sunil was in fact in Saudi and got him arrested, said a report.

In such extradition cases, low rank officers travel to abroad to take custody of fugitives but in this case, Joseph herself opted to come to Saudi Arabia. She called Indian Ambassador Ausaf Sayeed besides meeting her counterparts in Saudi. She also visited Lulu supermarket and met number of social workers and media from Kerala before returning home after completing her mission.

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