The state government has sanctioned funds to meet lodging and boarding expenses being incurred on 13 hostages, who were rescued off the Karwar coast by the Indian Navy on March 13.
These hostages of Mozambique and Indonesian nationality were then handed over to the Yellow Gate police station for further investigation.
The HT has learnt that the state government has sanctioned Rs 3 lakh towards expenses being incurred on hostages.
“We have not yet received the said amount, however, we were informed that we have been allotted money,” said an officer from Yellow Gate police station on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The large number of detainees has put the Yellow Gate police station in a quandary as it is their responsibility to not just lodge them but also provide them with food and other amenities.
“They were divided and kept in two lock-ups. They were given four chapatis and potato curry. They had no qualms about the food or the cramped lock up,” the officer said.
It also caused trouble in the medical examination and recording of their statement. “We were here till late night, recording statements. We will interrogate them in batches as it will simplify the process,” said Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (Port Zone). The police confirmed that out of the 13 hostages, 12 belong to Mozambique and one to Indonesia.
“Representatives from both embassies have already taken them and they intend to house them in a hotel close by. We have instructed them not to leave the registered premises until the investigation is finished,” said Khalid. While the Navy rescued 13 hostages, the police said 11 other hostages are still missing. According to one of the hostages, two Spanish hostages were left in Somalia, while two Indonesian hostages were killed. We are trying to determine where the remaining seven are,” said Khalid.
The Ballard Pier court on Thursday remanded six pirates to police custody till March 21. Police sources said that instead of asking for police custody of all the 61 pirates they sought the same (police custody) only for six of them.
“Due to logistical problems, we decided to ask for their custody in batches. Once we have investigated the first six, we will ask for the custody of the next batch,” said Khalid.
The Navy undertook a rescue operation on March 12, after they received communication from MV Vancouver Bridge that two skiffs were moving towards them.
These skiffs were traced back to the pirate mother ship, ‘Vega-5’ a Mozambique fishing trawler, which had been hijacked in December 2010. The Navy apprehended 61 pirates and 13 hostages in the operation, who were handed over to Yellow Gate police station for further investigation.