Over a month after investigations, into the alleged sex abuse of several women in Tamil Nadu's Pollachi, were transferred to the CBI, the probe agency filed two First Information Reports (FIRs) on Friday against eight accused. The Tamil Nadu government had handed over the case to CBI on March 13, after opposition parties in the state had asked for a court-monitored probe, alleging that the accused are linked to the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and that the party was trying to shield them and cover up the case.
Eight men were arrested in March for allegedly molesting and blackmailing women, mostly students, near Coimbatore.
The eight accused named in the FIRs are Sabarirajan, Thirunavukarasu, Satheesh, Vasanthakumar, Senthil, Babu, Mani and Vasanthakumar. Till the first week of April, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could not formally act because it had not yet received a revised government order. The first order had illegally identified the sex assault survivor.
The first FIR is based on the statement of the only complainant in the Pollachi case. On February 24, she told the police in her statement that four men - Thirunavukarasu, Sabarirajan, Satheesh and Vasanthakumar - assaulted her in a car and snatched her gold chain. They had clicked a video and were allegedly using it to threaten her.
The second FIR is related to the attack on the the survivor's brother, on February 26, near his house in Pollachi. The accused had allegedly threatened him because his sister went to the police.
The FIRs filed are under various sections including sexual harassment, use of criminal force on a woman, IT Act and criminal intimidation.
Yesterday, ten women lawyers approached the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu government, to set up a fact-finding team and help the sex assault survivors so that they can file complaints.
The women lawyers also sought a direction to the Chairperson of the State Commission for Women to constitute a permanent complaint committee in every district headquarter, headed by a retired district judge and comprising women lawyers, psychiatrists and social activists, who can counsel and provide legal assistance to the sex assault survivors.
After massive outrage, the Tamil Nadu government was forced to transfer the police officers, who had handled the Pollachi sexual harassment case. Among them was a Superintendent, who had revealed the identity of one of the women during a press conference.
The women targeted were mostly college students, who were first sent messages on social media, and later invited for dinners and long drives. The accused would "first win their confidence" and later lure them to secluded spots and molest them, the Tamil Nadu police had said, when the cases first came to light. The accused allegedly filmed the women being molested and used the videos to blackmail them for money. Over 60 women were allegedly assaulted in the last seven years the police had said.