Kerala HC orders arrest of 4 accused acquitted by POCSO court in minor siblings’ death
The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered the arrest of four men whose acquittal last year by a POCSO court in the case of the death of two minor siblings in Walayar triggered outrage in the state.
The HC order came after a hearing of a petition of the state government and mother of the victims questioning the acquittal. The court issued bailable warrants against the four men who are active workers of the ruling CPI (M).
The government in its appeal said the lower court’s verdict was “unsustainable and uncalled for.” The government conceded that the police failed to conduct a foolproof investigation and there were many lapses on their part. The government had earlier sacked the public prosecutor who handled the case.
The case will be heard again in May.
The mother of two girls aged 13 and 8, who were found dead in their homes, had approached the High Court in November seeking to quash the verdict of a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court in Palakkad which acquitted all the accused after passing serious strictures against the investigation team which had dismissed the deaths as suicides.
The two minor girls had died in a span of two months. The autopsy report had found both girls were subjected to sexual assaults. The older girl died on January 13, 2017 and the younger one 52 days later. Their mother had alleged that one of her relatives used to frequent the house when she went out for work and she had warned him after coming to know of his visits.
But she said he and his friends continued to abuse the older girl who informed the police before her death. While there was no action against him, the younger girl died 52 days later, she said.
While the younger sibling was found hanging at a height of 10 feet there was no stool or chair that she might have used to fasten the rope above, leading to the suspicion of an external hand.
The investigators allegedly did not seriously look into sexual assault charges during the probe into the death of the first child, and in the second case they did not probe a possible murder that the post-mortem report had cited.