A special court to try cases under the Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, in Chennai, on Saturday convicted 15 of the 17 offenders who were charged with grave offences, including aggravated penetrative sexual assault, on an 11-year-old girl with hearing impairment in Ayanavaram , in 2018. The judge will pronounce the quantum of sentence on On February 3.
An accused was let off and another died during the trial period.
The All-Women Police arrested 17 persons — all of them service staff at the residential apartment where the girl lived with her family. The accused had developed an acquaintance with the victim and reportedly committed aggravated sexual assault and aggravated penetrative assault on several occasions, from January 15 to July 14, 2018.
The prosecution alleged that the child was unable to understand what happened to her, and that she was raped by 17 persons, on several occasions, in a period of six months. The crime came to the notice of the girl’s parents when they took her to a hospital after she complained of stomach ache.
All accused were employed in the apartment complex as lift operators, electricians, plumbers, security guards and gardeners. The apartment association had engaged them through three agencies. Lift operator Ravikumar, 56, is said to have initiated the sexual assault. Other offenders followed him, the prosecution claimed.
The trial was conducted by special public prosecutor N. Ramesh, before special judge R.N. Manjula. One of the accused, N. Babu, died of ill health during trial, and 16 others went on to face trial. On Saturday, amid tight security, the 16 offenders were brought to the court complex, located on the Madras High Court premises. The court conducted in-camera proceedings.
“On the production of the offenders, the special judge, Ms. Manjula, held 15 of them guilty for offences they were charged with, and convicted them, while A.P. Gunasekaran was acquitted. Later, she questioned them about the quantum of sentence to be imposed against them. After recording their individual replies, the judge adjourned the matter to Monday to pronounce the quantum of sentences on them.”
R. Ravikumar, 56; M. Suresh, 32; A. Rajasekar, 40; A. Erald Bross, 58; B.J. Sugumaran, 65; N. Abishek, 23; K. Murugesu, 54; N. Paramasivam, 60; N. Palani, 40; A. Jayaganesh, 28; P. Gunasekaran, 55; N. Babu, 36; B. Deenadayalan, 50; A. Jayaraman, 26; E. Surya, 23; J. Raja, 30, and A. Umapathy, 42, were charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.