Kerala Agriculture Minister P Prasad on Monday said that the government will look into the case of a Keralite farmer, who reportedly went missing in Israel during a government-sponsored tour to study modern farming technologies in the country.
On February 12, a 27-member team went on a five-day tour to Israel, led by senior Agriculture Department officials, with the purpose to understand new farming techniques. However, 48-year-old Biju Kurian, a member of the delegation, reportedly went missing from the group on February 17 after which the team filed a complaint with the Israeli authorities.
The minister condemned Biju Kurian's action saying, "It seems like he deliberately got separated from the group. He was included in the delegation after the agriculture officer of the department examined whether Biju has satisfied the stipulated criteria with regard to the details of farmland he owns among others to make it to the trip," Prasad said.
Prasad also said that the scheme asked those to pay for their air travel charges who could afford it. "Biju paid for his ticket. However, we will look into any procedural lapses in the matter," Prasad told the media.
Despite Israel's law enforcement agencies' best efforts to trace him, the farmer's whereabouts were not known. "We have registered a police case against him. He will be deported once we nab him," an Israeli official said.
The delegation left the country on Sunday without him. The other members who returned back to the state told the media that Kurian attended all the sessions diligently. Some reports claimed that a day after he went missing in Israel, Kurian sent a Whatsapp message to his family saying that he was safe.
(With PTI inputs)