Taking exception to the Home Department's move in the case, Indian Union Muslim League, a key partner in the state's ruling UDF, said there appeared to be a move to 'malign' orphanages in north Kerala in connection with the incident.
Police sources said the crime branch team, headed by DYSP Sudhakaran, would inquire whether bringing of children mostly from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal involved illegalities. Eight persons, who accompanied 586 children, were arrested last week in Palakkad by railway police as soon they reached the city by train.
The children, meant to be taken to some of the orphanages, had been kept in state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur. A team of officials, who came from Jharkhand yesterday to inquire into the matter, said there were reasons to suspect it to be a case of child trafficking and the state government might opt for a CBI probe.
However, a final decision would be taken after consulting Jharkhand government, a Jharkhand official said.