Kochi: Circle Inspector VS Navas, who went missing two days ago, was brought back from Tamil Nadu by a team of Kerala police on Saturday.
He was found by the Tamil Nadu police at Madurai railway station.
A police team from Palakkad went to Karur to bring Navas back to Kerala. Police said he was traced early on Saturday morning after he switched on his mobile phone. He was on a train but the Railway Police reached him before the train left.
A protection officer at Madurai Railway Station hailing from Nedumkandam Thookupalam of Idukki district in Kerala identified Navas at the station. His photos had been circulated in the media following his disappearance since Thursday morning.
Navas who reached Madurai from Rameshwaram had enquired about a Coimbatore bound train to the officer. Though he failed to identify Navas initially, the policeman recognised Navas from a Whatsapp message and informed the Thrikakkara Assistant Commissioner of his suspicions by 3 am on Saturday.
His identity was confirmed after the Kerala police wired more photos to the Tamil Nadu police. Thereafter, Navas was taken into custody at the Karur police station by 5am.
The police team will be questioning Navas for more information.
A relative with whom Nawaz had interacted earlier, told the police that he was going to Rameshwaram to be with a close friend for a few days. After the police located him, Nawaz spoke to his wife and assured her everything was fine and there was nothing to worry.
The reason for his disappearance is not known, though it is said strife within the police force and work pressure were the likely factors behind his mysterious disappearance.
Navas is the CI at Ernakulam Central Police Station.
His wife had filed a man missing complaint with the Kochi City Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare on Thursday itself. Sakhare had then initiated an inquiry into the matter.
Navas, who hails from Kuthiyathodu in Alappuzha district, had messaged his wife that he was going on a trip.
It was found that he had withdrawn Rs 10,000 from an ATM in Kochi city as soon as he vanished.
On Thursday itself a policeman had met Navas at Kayamkulam Bus Stand. Navas had told him that he was going on court duty.
Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra had set up three special teams to trace the Navas. The search for the CI was led by S T Suresh Kumar, Special Branch Assistant Commissioner and Stuart Keeler, Assistant Commissioner, Thrikkakkara.
On Friday, Behra said an IPS officer will probe into the problem between Navas and his senior, with whom he had an argument over the wireless.
Navas, who has a clean image in the police force often responded emotionally on official matters, according to his colleagues.
Navas was harassed by superiors: Wife
Navas was subjected to mental harassment by his superiors and there were attempts to implicate in false cases, his wife Arifa had charged.
Talking to mediapersons, Arifa said that she was also aware of the row that Navas had with an Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) over wireless. Arifa said her husband had told her of this incident, but never revealed the name of the senior official.
Arifa charged that she was not getting a clear reply from the police regarding the investigation into the disappearance of Navas. She has requested for taking action against the ACP in the complaint given to the Chief Minister, said Arifa.
The message sent by Navas to his wife before setting out from the house has also been revealed. “I’m going on a journey, don’t worry,” was the last message Arifa received from her husband.
Navas lives with his family in the police quarters near South Police Station. Navas, who had reached the quarters by around 4am, must have left home by around 5:30am. By six in the morning, Arifa received a WhatsApp message from Navas’s personal mobile number which said, “I’m going on a trip, don’t worry.’ Arifa, who had read the message, tried to contact Navas continuously, but the phone was switched off. Upon this, Arifa reached the South Police Station by 10am. and filed the complaint.
Predicament over a case
It suspected that the pressure experienced by Navas in the past couple of months at the workplace could have been the motivation behind Navas’s disappearance.
A few months ago, a leading jewellery owner had borrowed Rs. 20 lakh from the relative of a senior police officer in the IG rank. However, the person who gave the money passed away before it was returned. When the wife of the deceased requested for the money, the jewellery owner refused to comply. The complaint reached the IG soon. As the jewellery owner refused to return the borrowed amount, IG assigned the commissioner to register a case against the jewellery owner.
Commissioner handed over the responsibility to Navas, CI of Ernakulam Central Station, who arrested the jewellery owner after registering a case. The accused was remanded to custody by the court. However, the jewellery owner happened to be a powerful office-bearer of the All-Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants Association. The Association leaders made a bid to withdraw the case through the influence of a minister.
It is learnt that the minister has given strict directives to the Public Prosecutor not to oppose the bail plea of the accused in the court. With the involvement of the Minister, the other senior police officers bailed out of the case. And the brunt fell squarely upon Navas who had arrested the accused.
As Navas was already battling with the acute pressure of facing the unsavoury situation that was a result of just following the directives from the senior police officers, more incidents unfolded. The ACP had scolded Navas through the wireless for the failure to inform the ACP about the arrest of an accused in a job racket case. However, the ‘scolding’ through the wireless was nothing but a shower of abuses, according to the other policemen who were present. And, instead of using a private network, the assistant commissioner was using a public network that was accessible to all other police officials.
After listening to the ‘scolding’ for some time, Navas had also reciprocated on the same lines. The duo could be controlled only with the intervention of other police officials. However, Navas was threatened of disciplinary action for insulting the ACP.
Apparently, Navas seems to have returned the official wireless, SIM card and vehicle before the disciplinary action came. He used to share with his friends grievances that senior police officials were misusing him who had never succumbed to bribery.
Navas had already made a mark as a police official who did not accept bribes, even when he was a Sub-Inspector.