Kochi: Compounding the mystery surrounding the suspected case of human trafficking, 54 more bags were found abandoned near Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple after the recovery of 13 from Munambam and six from Cherai on Saturday.
Authorities, considering its gravity, formed a 14-member special investigation team headed by additional SP M.J. Sojan including officers from Vadakkekara, Munambam and Aluva police stations.
The Kodungallur police found the bags on Sunday and grew suspicious only after media reports on the recovery in Ernakulam. Following that, they brought those to the station and items similar to other bags such as dry food, soft drinks and dresses in them.
Police said the group suspected of ferrying to a foreign coast comprised 43 people, mostly looked like Tamil people.
T.V. Shibu, station house officer, Munambam, said that they could not confirm their whereabouts or destination.
“We have sought the help of Coast Guard for a thorough search in the sea immediately. The CG is currently doing it,” he said.
Meanwhile, police sources said that a fishing vessel named Daya Matha II was sold to two individuals from Colachel and Thiruvananthapuram a few days ago.
“Further investigation revealed that there was a purchase of diesel worth `10 lakh from a petrol pump at Munambam on January 7 and 11. Around 10,000 litres of diesel were purchased. The reason behind the suspicion was that the fishing boats usually purchase up to 5000 litres at the maximum,” a source said.
The investigation after the recovery of air tickets from one of the bags found abandoned at Maliankara revealed that a few people from the group had flown down from Delhi to Kochi on January 8. Others had travelled by train from Delhi to Chennai and then to Kochi on December 12.
According to police, the group had stayed in five different lodges and homestays near Cherai before gathering in front of one of them and left by two unknown vehicles on Saturday around 5.30 a.m.
"Although the current investigation indicates this as a case of human trafficking, it cannot be officially confirmed until we get any solid proof," an official source said....