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Pollachi Sexual Abuse: More Holes Appear In The Case As The Dust Settles
2019 Polls

Pollachi Sexual Abuse: More Holes Appear In The Case As The Dust Settles

Sandhya Ravishankar

Sandhya Ravishankar

Key accused Thirunavukkarasu’s alibi for 12 February, the day of crime, is confirmed and CB-CID says a total of only four videos are available with them

Key accused Thirunavukkarasu, who is in jail, charged with the serial sexual harassment of women in Pollachi, Coimbatore, has got confirmation of his alibi in the form of local Congress leaders.

Thirunavukkarasu and his mother Latha have insisted, from since before his arrest on 05 March, that Thirunavukkarasu was not in Pollachi on the day of the alleged crime on 12 February.

In an interview to The Lede, Thirunavukkarasu’s mother Latha had said – ““When I met my son in jail, he told me that he was at a Congress party public meeting in Coimbatore on 12 February. He asked me to see the 13 February newspaper.”

As Thirunavukkarasu had told the CB-CID that he had gone to Coimbatore on 12 February to the office of the new Working President of the Congress, Mayura Jayakumar, to honour him with a shawl, the investigating agency summoned the Congress leader and his cohorts to verify the same.

Mayura Jayakumar denied knowledge of the visit, stating that as a politician, he met hundreds of people who gave him shawls and that he did not know either Thirunavukkarasu or his father Kanagaraj, a long time Congress man.

But Jayakumar also pointed to a Pollachi party representative, one Rajashekhar, who had been a youth Congress leader a decade ago but now did not hold a party position. Rajashekhar confirmed that he had, in fact, gathered all the old Congress workers from Pollachi to visit Mayura Jayakumar in a show of respect.

“I called Kanagaraj, an old Congress member too,” said Rajashekhar. “He brought his son (Thirunavukkarasu) along to drive us. We all went there, gave shawls to the leader, had lunch together and started back to Pollachi by around 2.30 pm,” he said. Rajashekhar confirmed that this took place on 12 February.

Police Bungling?

The Lede had, on 13 March, spoken exclusively with the 19-year-old complainant and her brother in the Pollachi sexual abuse case.

The complainant had stated that it was Sabarirajan, one of the four accused who had tried to misbehave with her and also hit her when they met. She said that she had not been sexually abused.

The Lede had also pointed out at the time that – “The police, it appears, in their zealousness to catch the gang of serial sexual abusers, had added in a lot of details that simply did not happen. Added to that zealousness was a direction from the sitting MLA to take up the case and the fact that Sarita is in fact related to Pollachi Jayaraman, and the police seem to have been on hot coals.”

As new evidence now emerges, it now appears that the FIR filed by the complainant could well turn out to be concocted by the police in a bid to either —

(a) somehow rope in all four accused in a case where they felt they deserved arrest or

(b) attempt to please the ruling party MLA.

Let us go over the facts of the case.

Date Event
12 February FIR states: Date of alleged crime; 19-year-old girl alleges that the gang of four – Thirunavukkarasu, Sabarirajan, Satish and Vasanthakumar – took her in a car to a deserted spot, removed her top and was filmed. Her gold chain was snatched and she was blackmailed into silence before being thrown out of the car.
15 February Complainant’s version: She plucks up courage to tell her brother about what happened and that the gang of four was threatening her.
16 February Complainant’s brother’s version: He and his friends went hunting for all four, beat them up.
17 February Latha, Thirunavukkarasu’s mother’s version: Her son was beaten badly on the night of 16 February and was taken to a Coimbatore hospital on 17 February.

Complainant’s brother’s version: He filed a complaint at the Kottur Police Station regarding videos showing sexual abuse of women and handed over mobile phones of all four accused to the police.

Between 17 and 20 February, the Kottur SI questions Thirunavukkarasu at the Coimbatore hospital.

20 February Latha, Thirunavukkarasu’s mother’s version: She asked her son to go to Tirupati in order to avoid arrest.
24 February FIR filed in the name of the complainant stating that all four accused had sexually abused her.
25 February Police arrest Sabarirajan, Satish and Vasanthakumar
04 March Thirunavukkarasu releases a video of himself on WhatsApp and social media claiming that he is innocent and that he would return to Pollachi the next day.
05 March Thirunavukkarasu is arrested by the Pollachi police
13 March Complainant & brother’s version: Complainant and her brother tell The Lede that she was not sexually abused or harassed but that the police had concocted the FIR that she signed on.

She also says that only Sabarirajan had attempted to misbehave with her. The other three were not present.

Her brother tells The Lede that since he had seen a number of videos of women being abused in the mobile phones of the accused, he had lodged a complaint. He too reiterated that while there were no videos of his sister and that she had not been abused as mentioned in the FIR, there were other women who had been victims.

20 March Latha, Thirunavukkarasu’s mother’s version: Her son was in Coimbatore and not in Pollachi when the alleged crime took place on 12 February.
21 March Congress leaders’ versions: Mayura Jayakumar says he does not know either Thirunavukkarasu or his father but that hundreds of people visit him. Pollachi Congress leader Rajashekhar says that Thirunavukkarasu had driven them, along with his father Kanagaraj, on 12 February, to Coimbatore, to wish Mayura Jayakumar.
Rumours AboundIn the past month and a half, rumours have rife about thousands of videos and over 250 women having been victims of the gang of four who exploited them sexually for money and favours.

These rumours have been fed and fuelled largely by a section of the media on the back of a persistent campaign by the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which has continually alleged that various leaders of the ruling AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) are involved in the racket and were shielding the accused.

What we do know from the police version is that there are four videos only, which have been recovered from the mobile phones of the accused. SP Coimbatore, R Pandiarajan, confirmed the same at a press meet in early March. The CB-CID, which is now investigating the case, has also confirmed the same, although on condition of anonymity.

The faces of the accused are not seen in these videos, although they are identifiable through other means, according to the CB-CID.

In effect, the four accused are likely to have been “guilty” of crimes as regards other victims, but as far as the complaint by the 19-year-old goes, the complaint is a concocted one. The CB-CID plans to go beyond the FIR filed by the complainant as far as this case is concerned, for that same reason.

The DMK’s key propaganda points have fallen flat.

  • That the ruling party is shielding the accused: It was in fact MLA Pollachi Jayaraman who stepped in to ensure that an FIR was registered by the complainant. Jayaraman is related to the complainant.
  • That hundreds of victims and thousands of videos are present, that the women and girls of Pollachi were in danger: Only four videos are available as evidence and the accused have been apprehended.
  • That there were many others involved in this racket: No other person is seen in these videos and so far no other person appears to be involved.

Editor’s Note: All may be fair in love and war. But public fear and anger being stoked by rumour mongering and spreading falsehoods is not a sign of a healthy democracy.