A special court for exclusive trial of cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on Monday sentenced eight persons, including six women, to imprisonment for the remainder of their natural life for having pushed a 13-year-old girl into prostitution and abetting her rape her. Thirteen others, including an inspector of police, were handed a punishment of 20-year rigorous imprisonment for raping the minor girl.
The offence came to light on November 10, 2020, when the victim’s mother lodged a complaint against a couple of her relatives to the all-women police, Washermenpet. After the demise of the victim’s father, the mother had difficulty supporting the child and entrusted her to her sister, who promised to arrange a domestic helper job for her. Instead, the woman and her partner pushed the child into sex work.
On November 11, the police arrested eight persons, including six women and two men, who were brokers and relatives of the victim. Now, the court has convicted and sentenced them to imprisonment for the remainder of their natural life.
The police, after investigating further, arrested 14 others, including C. Pugalenthi, who was an inspector of police, Ennore; Kannan, an engineer with Civil Supplies; Rajendran, a BJP functionary; and Vinobaji, a mediaperson. While one of them died during the trial, 13 others were tried and sentenced by the special court to rigorous imprisonment of 20 years.
Investigating officer S. Priyadharshni said, “We have filed the charge-sheet against the accused under the provisions of the POCSO Act and the Indian Penal Code. Over 96 witnesses and other evidence were produced for examination. At the conclusion of the trial, the court convicted the 21 accused, who faced trial on September 15. On Monday, the court pronounced the quantum of the sentence.”
Earlier on Monday, the convicts were escorted to the special court inside the High Court premises amidst tight security. They were produced before the court at 10.30 a.m. The special judge, M. Rajalakshmi, sentenced them. Later, they were taken to the Central Prison at Puzhal in Chennai.
The court also ordered a total fine of ₹7,01,000 to be paid to the victim and a compensation of ₹5 lakh to be released from the Victim Compensation Fund.