Pollachi Sexual Assault: CBI Arrests 3, Including AIADMK Member
The Pollachi police registered a case in February 2019 based on a woman’s complaint against men who assaulted her.
In a big development in the Pollachi sexual assault case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested three more accused – of which one person is linked to the AIADMK – in connection with sexual assault and extortion case. The three people who have been arrested by the CBI are Arulanatham (34), Heron Paul (29), and Babu (30). Arunathalam is the Pollachi town secretary of AIADMK student wing.
According to sources, the three accused belonged to the same gang as the five other men arrested earlier in the case.
These arrests are in addition to the four people first booked by the police in the case — Sabarirajan, Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish and Vasanthkumar.
WHAT IS THE CASE ABOUT?
The case relates to a complaint filed by a 19-year-old woman in 2019, who had said that the four men forcibly removed her clothes in a car and video-graphed the act.
The woman’s complaint later revealed a larger sexual assault and extortion racket in February 2019, leading the police to believe that over 50 women may have been victims of sexual assault by a close network of men.
The Pollachi police had registered a case on 24 February 2019 based on the woman’s complaint against four accused who had assaulted her.
THE OTHER ARRESTS
In addition to the four accused, a fifth accused, R Manivannan, was arrested and is said to have confessed to raping 'a few women' along with the other four. Manivannan, alias Mani, had been arrested after he surrendered before the chief judicial magistrate's court in Coimbatore in March 2019.
The four – Sabarirajan, Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish and Vasanthkumar – were arrested and charge-sheeted under Sections 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of criminal force against woman with intent to disrobe), and 394 (robbery) of the IPC; Section 66E of the IT Act (violation of privacy); and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Sexual Harassment of Women Act (sexual harassment).
WHAT’S THE BOTTOMLINE?
After alleged police inaction and widespread protests by the public, Tamil Nadu government decided to transfer the case to CBI and received a nod from the Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit for the same.
The CBI started the investigation into the case on 28 April 2019. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in May 2020. The final charge sheet has not been filed yet.
Of the four initial accused, Sabarirajan alias Riswandh is a 25-year-old civil engineer in Pollachi; Thirunavukkarasu is a 26-year-old financier; Vasanthakumar works for Thirunavukkarasu to collect money from clients; and Sathish is the owner of a readymade garments shop in Pollachi.
The police also added the name of ‘Bar’ Nagaraj, an AIADMK functionary who has now been expelled by the party. However, the CBI told the court last year that they were going to drop the case against him for lack of evidence.
(This was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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