Child abduction: Has cops erred by going after fake number plate?

The child was found abandoned in a gap of 22 hours at the heart of Kollam city. Photo:Manorama

Oyoor (Kollam): The first few hours of investigation in a child abduction case are extremely crucial as the initial response and actions determine the chances of locating the missing child and apprehending the culprits. But have the cops erred in the Oyoor child abduction case by basing the probe only on the white car used by abductors and going after the fake number plate exhibited in it?

The Kerala Police lost valuable time by pursuing the vehicle based on its number plate after they managed to unearth CCTV images of a white car used by the culprits in kidnapping six-year-old Abigel Sara Reji. The child was later found abandoned in a gap of 22 hours at the heart of Kollam city.

The cops seem to have forgotten that culprits often won’t carry out crimes with the original number plate of the vehicle. Another decision that may have backfired was concentrating on rural areas while carrying out fewer vehicle inspections in Kollam city. The cops admit this has enabled the abductors to reach Ashramam Maidanam in the heart of the city and abandon the child there without getting caught.

Also, the investigation was delayed by malfunctioning of CCTV cameras in many places that were installed during the tenure of A Hemachandran as the Director General of Police (DGP). The cops were forced to rely on visual images of cameras installed by individuals and private institutions, and this consumed several hours.

Excellent intervention by the society, media: Congress

Kollam District Congress Committee (DCC) President P Rajendra Prasad hailed the society and the media terming their interventions from the time the child went missing till she was found as “exemplary”. He charged that the failure of police to recover the child until she was found abandoned was the last of the several instances when the Home Department under the Pinarayi Vijayan government was found wanting.

Kollam MP N K Premachandran too expressed relief and happiness over getting back the six-year-old child. It’s unfortunate that the police couldn’t apprehend the culprits or unearth the motive behind the crime, he said after visiting the child at Kollam Police Club and consoling her.

Youth Congress State Vice President Vishnu Sunil Pandalam also charged that the inability of the cops to nab the culprits so far reveals the failure of the policing system.

CPM lauds police, people
Meanwhile, CPM District Secretary S Sudevan said the police conducted a flawless investigation in tracing the missing child and bringing the culprits to light. Top officers arrived at the spot soon after the incident and conducted a scientific investigation day and night. He lauded the government and the police for conducting an effective probe and also the people for complimenting the efforts with a single dedicated mind.

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