Days after the Pollachi sex scandal first came to light, an alleged video confession by two accused has detailed the blackmail and coercive measures that may have been used to exploit the women involved. A CBI probe has now been ordered into the case that allegedly witnessed several investigative lapses by the local police. Four people have been arrested so far.
The 3.25-minute clip shows two of the accused seemingly relating their alleged methods of entrapping the women. The clip was reportedly recorded by relatives and friends of the complainant before the two were handed over to the Pollachi police. NDTV, however, cannot confirm the authenticity of the video.
One of them claims in the video that the woman, a college student, willingly accompanied him on a car ride. "She came in our car when I asked her out. What I did later was wrong. I kissed her, and she did not object. She said 'no' when I began stripping her, but I continued anyway, questioning how she could object to it when she said nothing to the kiss," he is heard saying.
The same man is also heard alleging that the main accused "called women and blackmailed them with videos" of the sexual assault.
According to police, the victims - mostly college students - were first wooed on social media before being asked out to dinner or long drives. The accused would sexually assault them after "winning their confidence", they said. It is alleged that Sabarirajan, an engineer, was responsible for developing relationships and taking videos as well as photographs to blackmail the women into submission".
The other accused are K Thirunavukarasu, an MBA graduate and the alleged brains behind the scandal, and Satish and T Vasanthakumar, both private firm employees. "We are investigating if they raped anyone, besides the exact nature of the abuse involved. We have sent their phones to retrieve videos and other evidence," a senior officer told NDTV.
While the Coimbatore district police initially said that around 60 women were targeted by the accused, the CBICID - which has now taken over the probe - is revisiting the claim because just one has come forward to lodge a police complaint until now. Four people have been have been arrested under the Goondas Act, and the ruling AIADMK has expelled one of its party workers, A Nagaraj, for allegedly assaulting the brother of a victim at the accused's behest.
Opposition parties have criticised the Coimbatore Superintendent of Police for reportedly naming the sole complainant in the case during a press meet. A state government order by Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi transferring the case to CBI also mentioned the woman's name, leading to accusations by DMK chief MK Stalin that it was "an indirect threat aimed at deterring other women from coming forward". He has also accused the police of invoking the "irrelevant" Goondas Act to help the accused.
Chief Minister E Palaniswamy is yet to comment on the case.
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