Pollachi case: HC seeks TN govt’s response to plea for court-monitored probe

Tamil Nadu, Madras High Court, Nalini, Rajiv Gandhi assassination, 30 days leave, The Federal, English news website
Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Chennai. PTI File.

The Madras High Court on March 19 directed the Tamil Nadu government and the CBI to file their replies on a petition seeking a court-monitored probe into the Pollachi sexual harassment case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani and Justice M Duraiswamy gave the direction when the petition by an advocate came up for hearing. It then posted the petition to April 10 for further hearing. Petitioner P Pugalenthi referred to the Tamil Nadu government order transferring the case to the CBI based on a recommendation by the state DGP.

A gang of four men had on February 12 allegedly tried to strip a 19-year-old woman inside a car near Pollachi in Coimbatore district, shot a video of the act and blackmailed her using the visuals. With the incident triggering outrage amid reports that more women had been assaulted by the gang, the state government had last week issued an order transferring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The petitioner submitted that the DGP had recommended the CBI probe since the case involved technical issues, including analysis of social media accounts. He also referred to the government order mentioning the name of the victim and said it was “unfortunate” the state ignored the fundamentals of justice and disclosed her identity. He wanted the court to monitor the probe by the CBI, saying the DGP himself had stated the case demanded more laborious and dedicated investigation.

Meanwhile, a report from Coimbatore said the CB-CID, which is at present investigating the case, summoned editor of “Nakkheeran” R Gopal to appear before it on March 25 in connection with the release of a video by the Tamil magazine reportedly containing visuals of some women being harassed by the gang.

Gopal had on March 18 moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail, apprehending arrest by police. He has alleged that the case had been foisted on him. In Pollachi, almost all shops and other commercial establishments on March 19 downed shutters in support of a call given by various organisations seeking a court-monitored probe into the harassment case.