KERALA

Santhosh Madhavan found guilty in three rape cases

KOCHI: Ernakulam Additional Sessions Judge A. Haripal on Tuesday convicted Santhosh Madhavan, alias Swami Amritha Chaitanya, in three cases relating to raping minor girls. He was found guilty of offences punishable under sections 342 (wrongful confinement) and 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

The prosecution case was that he had lured the minor girls hailing from poor families, confined them and sexually exploited them. Of the six rape cases registered against him, he was acquitted in three as the victims turned hostile. He committed the rapes in January and March 2006. The court relied on the evidence given by the victims and circumstantial evidences while convicting him.

The court acquitted the second accused and driver of Santhosh Madhavan, Thomas. He was let off on the ground that the prosecution was not able to prove the charges levelled against him under Section 366 A (procuring minor girls) beyond reasonable doubt.

Santhosh Madhavan was arrested on May 13, 2008, on a complaint lodged by a Dubai-based Malayali woman. In her complaint, Serafin Edwin had alleged that she was cheated of Rs.40 lakh by Santhosh Madhavan.

The case relating to cheating was still pending before the court. The police had conducted searches at Santhitheeram, a guesthouse run by Santhosh Madhavan here, and seized various incriminating documents after registering the cheating case. The investigation by the police had revealed his involvement in the harassment and rape of minor girls. The prosecutor contended that maximum punishment and penalty should be awarded to him. The court will pronounce the sentence in the cases on Wednesday.

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