Negligent Delhi immigration lets Brinkman flee India

| 24 February 2000 22:55 IST

Perhaps it is sheer negligence on the part of the immigration authorities in Delhi that Brinkman Helmut, a 57-year old German paedophile, could escape the country before he could be nabbed and put back behind the bars.

The high court has already dismissed the special leave petition filed against the paedophile, who was earlier convicted and then acquitted, since he has left the country. The Goa government is now planning to approach the Supreme Court as a last resort, as recommended by the advocate general.

"It is sheer negligence on the part of immigration authorities in Delhi. I have told the chief secretary to get the matter enquired through the union home ministry while the local police has also been advised to be more watchful in future", says Atmaram Nadkarni, the state AG.

Brinkman was arrested in August 1998 by Calangute police for allegedly kidnapping a 12-year old boy from Bombay and harassing him sexually in a Goan hotel. He was then convicted in February last year with six years rigorous imprisonment by the assistant session judge. He however managed to get an acquittal by 24 September in the sessions court, merely on technical grounds.

While the local authorities were planning to go into appeal before the high court against his acquittal within a specified period of 90 days, Brinkman was allowed to board the flight at the Indira Gandhi International airport on 26 October – within 33 days – based on the acquittal order he was carrying along with him.

Surprisingly, the German paedophile learnt to have even managed to get a new passport from the embassy while his original passport is still lying in the court. It has happened in spite of the local police sending details of Brinkman's case to the ministry for external affairs, with a request to inform the German embassy about it.

The local police also wonder how Brinkman was allowed to pass through the immigration counter when they have still not withdrawn the Look Out Circular sent to all the airport authorities soon after his arrest in 1998. "They just cannot leave him without the LOC being deleted", says a senior police officer at the foreigners' branch.

On the contrary, the foreigner's regional registration officer at the Delhi IGI has sent a letter on 9 November to the Goa police that they cleared Brinkman at the airport on 29 October, based on the court acquittal order, in spite of the LOC not being withdrawn. Surprisingly, the same letter also asks Goa police "whether the LOC should be continued or otherwise" while Brinkman is already in Germany.

The police authorities do not agree that they should have alerted the airport authorities suspecting that he may try and escape from India. "They have to wait for 90 days in spite of the acquittal order or the concerned person has to take the departure endorsement from the foreigners' branch here", clarifies the officer.

Recalling the recent case of a British couple who was acquitted by the high court after facing jail term for 19 months for carrying drugs with them, their parents had sought the departure endorsement to leave the country after seeking a clearance from the government not go into appeal. The LOC against them was deleted much later.

While chief secretary Ashok Nath has intimated the union home ministry about the lapse on the part of the immigration authorities letting a 'criminal' to flee, he is also enraged over undue delay in filing the special leave petition before the high court. While the sanction to file the appeal was granted after 56 days, the police finally filed it almost when 90 days were getting over.

The whole administration is shaken up with the way a hard core criminal involved in a serious crime of abusing Indian children is allowed to flee the country, after 'Gomantak Times', a local daily, brought the facts to light.

A high level enquiry has been now instituted at the initiative of Child Rights in Goa, an NGO, who have also persuaded the authorities to approach the Supreme Court. No one however knows how they would manage to get Brinkman back from Germany when he is presently not facing any charge against him.

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