Kochi: The chief accused in the human trafficking gang also involved in extorting money from actress Shamna Kasim was arrested on Saturday.
Though not an accused in Shamna's case, Muhammed Sheriff is being questioned by the police for the human trafficking cases which came to light after the actress filed a case against the extortion gang.
Thrissur natives Abdul Salam, 26, of Kodungallur and Aboobacker, 60, of Vadanappally was arrested in connection with the case on Friday. Abdul Salam was arrested when he turned up at the magistrate court to surrender. Abdul Salam is accused in cheating cases in Thrissur and Malappuram, according to the police.
With this, seven people have been arrested in the case. Four were arrested on Wednesday. They have been sent in to police custody for seven days.
The gang allegedly threatened actress Shamna Kasim and her family, and attempted to extort money after approaching them with a marriage proposal for her. Both Abdul Salam and Aboobacker were part of the gang that went to Shamna’s house. Aboobacker had telephoned Shamna under the guise of the father of 'groom Anwar Ali'.
City police commissioner Vijay Sakhare said that the accused have also been charged with human-trafficking and insulting the woman's modesty. They were earlier slapped with charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, house trespass, and threats.
The police team headed by DCP G Poonguzhali has registered four cases so far.
Four of the accused will be taken to Shamna's house for evidence collection on Saturday.
More women file complaints
Four more women filed complaints against the same gang on Friday. Women, who worked in the modelling and in the event management sectors, were taken to Palakkad under the pretext of a film project.
The main accused Muhammed Sheriff advertised for the same and summoned models for the project.
The culprits asked the women to work as carriers for a gold smuggling racket based in Thirur. Each of them was offered Rs 2 lakh.
Eight women were locked up at Walayar for eight days in March and were not given food, according to the police.
The accused also threatened the women against informing the police or their families.
The gang kept the women in captivity at the hotels in Vadakkencherry and Walayar. One of the victims have also complained of sexual assault.
The police conducted searches at the Walayar hotel and took the statements of the staff.
It is not clear if the gang's real motive was gold smuggling or extortion. The police said that steps were being taken to nab the other culprits, including the kingpin of the racket.