Direction given as not much progress made in police probe in 2 years

The Madras High Court has ordered the transfer of the investigation of a case relating to the alleged gang rape and murder of a 37-year-old software engineer in January 2011, to the CB-CID for further investigation.

Passing the order on a petition by the woman’s husband, Justice A. Arumughaswamy said that for the past two years, prima facie no substantial progress had been made in the investigation of the case. Therefore, he was ordering the transfer of the investigation.

The prosecution’s case was that on January 29, 2011, a village administrative officer, Karthikeyan, had filed a complaint with the Keezh Kodungalur police station in Tiruvannamalai district that Valasai, village assistant of Seesamangalam, told him on phone that a woman’s body with neck injuries had been found near Salavedu.

On February 6, four persons were arrested. As per the statement of the first accused, Vadivel, a share autorickshaw driver, the other accused were his friends. Ten days prior to his arrest, another accused had come to the Perungalathur autorickshaw stand and given him a woman’s photo and said it was given to him by a person known to him who had said that if she was murdered, he would be paid Rs. 1 lakh.

On January 28, he had taken a share autorickshaw along with Samath Basha, travelling as a passenger, and as expected, the woman got into the vehicle. They were proceeding towards Tambaram and on the way, as predetermined, another accused boarded the auto. They then proceeded to Chengalpattu, crossed the by-pass and in a dark area, they raped her. Later, they proceeded towards Vandavasi and near Salavedu, parked the vehicle near a farm where one of the accused cut her throat with a knife and she dropped dead. After the incident, three persons took away her jewellery.

The petitioner said that during police custody, the first accused died. Further, it was a case of gang rape and there was no progress in the investigation.

The government advocate (criminal side) said that the first accused was in police custody and taken to the scene of the crime. He fell down and sustained a chest injury. Later, he died. The police had taken due care at the time of investigation.

Allowing the petition, Justice Arumughaswamy said the complainant apprehended that there would not be a fair investigation by the local police as, in his statement, the first accused had stated that the photo had been given to him by a known person, but that person’s name had not been mentioned.

A careful perusal of the statement given by the first accused would reveal that prima facie no unknown person had been involved. Anyhow, the first accused died in police custody. Hence, for the past two years, prima facie no substantial progress had been made in the investigation.