On July 14, Kollam Police Commissioner Merin Joseph IPS, her team and Interpol together departed for Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Unaware of the procedures that would follow once she landed, Merin was confident about the fact that she would return to her homeland with Sunil Kumar Bhadran, a man wanted in a child rape case.
Sunil, a resident of Kollam, was a tile worker in Saudi Arabia. In 2017, he was allegedly accused of sexually harassing and assaulting his friend’s niece for three months.
By the time the police issued a search notice, Sunil had left for Saudi Arabia.
The girl was moved to Government Mahila Mandiram rescue home at Karicode in Kollam district. However, she killed herself in June 2017. Before her death, her paternal uncle, who had introduced Sunil Kumar to the family, had also committed suicide.
Merin, who was appointed as the Kollam Commissioner on June 2019, had reviewed pending cases, laying particular emphasis on cases of women and children.
While speaking to The Logical Indian, Kollam Police Commissioner Merin Joseph said: “The accused was missing for about two years, and the investigation was also pending. There was a lot of public outrage on this matter, and people demanded justice for the young girl.”
Though an Interpol notice was issued against Sunil Kumar in 2017, the case never achieved any conclusion. Like most of the cases, this too demanded a continuous follow-up and co-operation from the countries involved.
“All efforts to bring him to India had failed. Later, a notice was issued, and CBI Delhi informed us that Sunil was in Riyadh,” she said.
Speaking about the challenges faced during the arrest, Police Commissioner Joseph said, “The mission was not easy, but we were able to pull it off successfully. A lot of coordination was required between multiple agencies like Saudi Interpol, Indian Embassy, International Investigation Cell, Crime Branch and Police Headquarters. A lot of paperwork and documentation was to be done.”
The police have charge-sheeted a case against Sunil Kumar, ensuring that he doesn’t get bail.
“We will request for a speedy trial in this case. We hope this serves as a lesson for all other criminals,” Police Commissioner Joseph told The Logical Indian.
Sunil Kumar Bhadran is the first criminal from Kerala who has been extradited to his homeland.