Inspector, 2 govt staff among 13 sentenced to 20 yrs for child rape

Inspector, 2 govt staff among 13 sentenced to 20 yrs for child rape

Of the 22 arrayed as accused, eight persons — the girl’s relatives — were sentenced to life imprisonment while 14 others were sentenced to 20 years.

CHENNAI: Taking a strong stance that people in higher positions in society, arrested for raping a minor girl forced into prostitution, cannot contend they were just customers and escape punishment, a special court for Pocso cases sentenced a police inspector, a BJP functionary and two other government staff to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.

Of the 22 arrayed as accused, eight persons — the girl’s relatives — were sentenced to life imprisonment while 14 others were sentenced to 20 years. “The well-to-do, educated, financially sound, in higher positions in the society, fathers of well-grown children had sexual intercourse with a child for their lust are worse than the pimps. They are the real weeds that need to be uprooted from the society,” stated M Rajalakshmi, Sessions Judge, Special Court for the exclusive trial of Pocso cases.

The case came to the spotlight in November 2020 when Chennai police arrested their own, C Pugazhenthi, then Inspector of Ennore police station under the Pocso Act for penetrative sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl, who was forced into sex work by her relatives. The arrest of a BJP functionary, G Rajendiran, who was into the agro-foods business in Old Washermenpet had led investigators to the Inspector. It was the contention of the prosecution that Rajendiran and Pugazhenthi indulged in gang rape of the minor girl.

Police had earlier arrested eight relatives of the girl, who forced her into sex work and exploited her for money. Subsequent arrests opened up a can of worms as the all-women police, Washermenpet arrested 14 others including two government servants.

Court awards Rs 10 lakh compensation to victim

Among those arrested were two government servants — P Kamesvara Rao (33), a signal technician with Railways and SBR Kannan (53), Chief Engineer, TN Civil Supplies Corporation. C Raja Sundaram (62), a then professor of Madras Veterinary College and A Vinobaji (39), a media person were also among the arrested.

Trial in the case began on August 4, 2021, and after a year of trial, the special court found all the accused in the case guilty of their offences.

The special court noted that the very purpose of the enactment of the Pocso Act will not be served if the accused are relieved as customers of prostitution, ignoring the fact that the victim is a child.

“Such unmerited acquittal encourages wolves in the society on the prowl for easy prey,” the court stated and convicted all the accused. The court also awarded compensation of more than Rs 10 lakh to the victim.

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