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CBI takes over Pollachi sex scandal probe in Tamil Nadu

The CBI filed two FIRs on Saturday, one on sexual assault by the gang and the other pertaining to the attack on the victim’s brother, who had approached the police and lodged a complaint,

india Updated: Apr 28, 2019 12:20 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
CBI,Tamil Nadu,Pollachi sex scandal
College students and women from several organisations hold placards as they stage a protest urging the government to act immediately on Pollachi's sexual assault incident, in Madurai on March 18, 2019. (PTI FILE PHOTO)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the probe into the sex scandal, pertaining to sexual assault and extortion of women and college students across Tamil Nadu by an organised gang in Pollachi town of Coimbatore district, with the registration of two First Information Reports (FIRs), officials said.

The CBI filed two FIRs on Saturday, one on sexual assault by the gang and the other pertaining to the attack on the one of the victim’s brother, who had approached the police and lodged a complaint, which blew the lid off the scandal. Ahead of the attack on her brother, the survivor had lodged a police complaint in February this year.

The agency will also probe sexual assault and extortion of other women and college students across Tamil Nadu by the gang.

Earlier in the day, the state government issued a fresh order recommending a CBI investigation considering the wider ramifications of the case as per the directions of the Madras High Court.

Earlier in the day, the state government issued a fresh order recommending a CBI investigation considering the wider ramifications of the case as per the directions of the Madras High Court.

The government was castigated by the High Court’s Madurai Bench for revealing the identity of the sexual assault survivor in its earlier order last month. The Court had also ordered a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the survivor.

The gang in Pollachi town near Coimbatore allegedly used to befriend college students and women, including a Chennai-based doctor and housewives, through Facebook and lured them to places of their choice where they were sexually assaulted and videographed. Later, the victims were forced to oblige their sexual demands and also extorted under the threat of circulating the videos online.

The girls and women were taken to farm houses and other places, where they were beaten if they resisted the gang members and their accomplices.

Unable to bear the torture by the gang, the victim opened up to her family and lodged a complaint with the Pollachi police on February 12, accompanied by her brother. This had led to the arrest of the kingpin of the gang Thirunavukkarasu (25) and his associates, Sabarirajan (25), Sathish (28) and Vasantha Kumar (27). All those arrested are still behind bars.

The Coimbatore Police Superintendent, who named the survivor in a media release, and gave a clean chit to politicians and their wards, has since been transferred after the High Court pulled up the government.

The case snowballed into a political row with the opposition DMK using this to target the ruling AIADMK during the Lok Sabha poll campaign. The DMK has been alleging that wards of local AIADMK functionaries, including the sons of Assembly Deputy Speaker Jayaram were involved in the sex scandal.

DMK’s Women’s wing leader Kanimozhi, had led a massive protest in Pollachi and courted arrest to press for an impartial probe into the issue. According to her, the racket was going on for many years had the support of the ruling party functionaries.

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 12:20 IST