Kozhikode: A pastor from Perumbavoor in Kerala's Ernakulam district was arrested over the trafficking of minor girls from Rajasthan.
The arrested was Jacob Varghese, pastor of Karuna Bhavan Orphanage at Pulluvazhy locality in Perumbavoor.
He was arrested after 12 girls along with four parents and two middlemen were taken into custody by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) when they alighted from the Okha Express at the Kozhikode Railway Station on Tuesday night.
Jacob was called to the railway police station based on the adverse report of the RPF and the Child Welfare Council (CWC).
His arrest was recorded by Railway Police Sub-Inspector P Jamshid. Later, Jacob was remanded in judicial custody.
According to the police, the arrest was made because the accused could not produce valid papers for running the orphanage.
Two middlemen involved in the case were arrested by the Railway police just after the incident.
The children were brought as part of the plan to reopen the orphanage, which has been dysfunctional for the last five years. The inauguration of the orphanage was planned on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Rayamangalam Panchayat president NP Ajaya Kumar has said that the orphanage doesn't have the required licence from the panchayat.
The parents, who were taken into custody along with the girls, are under police surveillance. Other parents would reach Kozhikode on Friday.
CWC chairman P Abdul Nazar said that a decision on handing over the children to parents would be taken only after holding talks with the Child Welfare Council of the Banswara district in Rajasthan, the native place of these children.