Rape and suicide of two minors: Kerala Govt finally moves High Court for re-investigation
The autopsy report had found that both minor girls were subjected to sexual assaults. The elder girl died on January 13, 2017, and the younger one 52 days later.Updated: Nov 20, 2019 19:45 IST
A month after all four suspects in the rape and murder of two minor girls walked free, the Kerala government filed an appeal in the Kerala high court on Wednesday, seeking a reinvestigation and retrial of the case dating back to early 2017.
The acquittal of the suspects, all of whom belonged to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), by a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court, had caused consternation and protests in the state. The four men had been accused of raping and killing a pair of siblings, aged 11 and 8, in Palakkad, within a span of two months .
The case figured prominently in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday; speaker Om Birla said it was a serious matter and expressed hope that investigative agencies will deal seriously with it. Congress MPs from the state sought the Centre’s intervention, saying the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Kerala government was shielding the suspects.
The state government sacked the special public prosecutor in the case two days ago, citing grave lapses on her part.
In the appeal filed on Wednesday, the government admitted that there had been lapses in the investigation and trial that led to the acquittal of the suspects. In the probe of the death of the first child, sexual assault charges had not been looked into seriously, and, in the second case, although the post-mortem report had cited a possible murder angle, it wasn’t probed sufficiently by the investigating team, it said.
After many witnesses turned hostile during the trial, the prosecution did not take any action against them, the state government said in the appeal.
The ruling CPI(M) had been facing a barrage of criticism as all the accused were active workers of the party. The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the government weakened the case deliberately to save the party workers.
The mother of two siblings had also said the suspects were party workers and she had been threatened on several occasions not to pursue the case. After the verdict ,it also came to light that a lawyer who appeared for one of the accused was appointed the district child protection council chairman.
The autopsy report had found that both girls were subjected to sexual assaults. The elder girl died on January 13, 2017, and the younger one 52 days later.
Their mother alleged that one of her relatives used to frequent the house, and the family warned him off when they came to know of the sexual assaults. But she said he and his friends continued to abuse the elder girl, and she had informed the police of the fact when she died. But no action was taken against him, which led to the second death in the family 52, she said.
Although the younger sibling was found hanging from a height of 10 feet, there was no stool or chair that she could have used to fasten the rope above.
Both Congress and BJP welcomed the government’s belated decision to appeal.
“It was overdue,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress. “It is a drama being enacted by the government to cool mounting tempers,” said BJP leader K Surendran.
The siblings’ mother filed a plea in the high court two days ago, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe , and the petition is expected to come up soon.