POCSO Act, Reddy, Nirbhaya, The Federal, English news website
The officer told the CBI that he would bribe the children with cellphones and other electronic gadgets to keep them silent. | Representative photo

Rape of disabled minor: Five get life imprisonment in Tamil Nadu

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The Madras High Court on Monday (February 3) convicted 15 of the 17 accused in the rape of an 11-year-old disabled minor, near Ayanavaram.

Of the 17 accused, five convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment while nine got five years. One convict was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. One of the accused, Babu, 36, died in the judicial custody even as the trial was on.

In 2018, the state was rocked by the incident in which an 11-year-old girl residing in an apartment in Ayanavaram, Chennai, was subjected to repeated sexual harassment by multiple men including the lift operator and apartment security guard.

The incident came to light when the elder sister of the victim noticed unusual changes in the activity of the hearing impaired mirror. Later, after investigations, the police arrested all the accused.

Those arrested were identified as Ravikumar, 56, Suresh, 32; Rajasekar, 40; Erald Bross, 58, Sugumaran, 65; Abishek, 23; Murugesu, 54; Paramasivam, 60; Palani, 40; Jayaganesh, 28, Gunasekaran, 55, Babu, 36, Deenadayalan, 50; Jayaraman, 26; Surya, 23; Raja, 30; and Umapathy, 42.

The trial began during January 2019 in the Mahila Court in Chennai. During which, the prosecution submitted as many as 120 evidence and about 36 witnesses on their behalf, while the defence managed to bring about seven witnesses from their side.

All the witnesses were deposed and according to sources, the witnesses’ deposition went up to 1,500 pages. On completion of the trial, a special court for POCSO cases reserved its order in December 2019. On Saturday (February 1), the Mahila court convicted 15 of 16 accused and announced the quantum of punishment on February 3.

Speaking to the media, N Ramesh, public prosecutor, said the judge could have given the highest punishment to the convicts. “However, not giving capital punishment does not mean the failure of the case and argument,” he said.

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