The Kerala High Court on Friday confirmed the verdict of the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court awarding rigorous imprisonment of various terms to six accused, including two college teachers, in a 1997 case relating to sexual exploitation of a college girl at Pandalam. Justice P. Bhavadasan, however, modified the sentences and enhanced the fine awarded to the accused while dismissing an appeal filed by them.
The prosecution case was that the girl studying in the Pandalam NSS College was sexually exploited by the accused from July 10 to October 20, 1997. The accused are K. Venugopal, lecturer at the department of English; B. Ravindranatha Pillai, lecturer at the same department (since dead); C.M. Prakash, lecturer at the department of Botany; M. Venugopal, a contractor; Jyothish Kumar, a provision store owner; Manoj Kumar, a former panchayat member; and K.G. Shah George, a TV serial producer.
Yet another accused college teacher Radhakrishan committed suicide during the trial of the case.
The judge said the evidence given by the victim was true.
The Bench awarded 11 years’ rigorous imprisonment to the first accused, fourth accused, and fifth accused under Section 376(2)(g) (gang rape) and under Section 366 (kidnapping women) of the Indian Penal Code. They had been imposed an enhanced fine of Rs.1.75 lakh each. The sixth and seventh accused were sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.75,000, while the third accused was given seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and an enhanced fine of Rs.53,000.
The court ordered that out of the fine amount, Rs.6 lakh be given to the victim as compensation.