Year-ender: 2018 saw a dastardly serial rape, and justice for a victim

Chennai: The year 2018 was a happening year in every sense for the city police. Marred by controversies, scams and a number of crimes, it has been nothing short of a tumultuous period for the personnel.

AYANAVARAM HORROR

In July, the city was shocked after a complaint was lodged by a family in Ayanavaram that their 12-year-old, hearing-impaired daughter was subjected to rape for seven months by the apartment lift man and his accomplices. The police picked up 17 men, mostly security guards and maintenance workers of the residential complex.

The rage among Chennaiites was visible when Madras High Court lawyers association decided not to represent any accused in the case. The suspects were thrashed allegedly by lawyers when they were brought to court. The accused, police said, drugged and sedated the victim. In October, the city police filed chargesheets against the 17 suspects.

SAVIOUR OF GODS

The police officer who stayed in the news the longest was Inspector General of Police, Idol Wing CID, Pon Manickavel. He led the investigations into idols illegally kept at houses of two well-known business personalities in the city – Ranvir Shah and entrepreneur Kiran Rao – even when his retirement came in the way.

The outspoken officer brought home hundreds of stolen statues of deities and fought court battles. Post-retirement, his hard work paid off as he made a comeback as special officer in the Idol Wing department. The latest news is that his subordinates snubbed him by filing complaints and levelling allegations against him.

SCAM AND A PRESS MEET

In September this year, the CBI’s Anti-Corruption wing conducted raids in 35 locations involving the residences of Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar, DGP T K Rajendran and former City Commissioner S George related to the infamous gutkha scam.
Following this, former George held a press meet and claimed that his name was not in the CBI FIR registered in connection with the scam. He also levelled allegations against his subordinates.

Following the raids, the CBI took five persons into custody, including the owner of the gutkha company, Madhav Rao, and a few food safety officers.

The gutkha scam dates back to June 2017 and relates to the alleged payment of Rs 39.91 crore as bribes to government officials, IPS officers and ministers. The CBI issued summons to a few, among whom is Minister Vijaya Baskar.

WHEN COPS GATECRASHED A PARTY

On 13 February, the city police gatecrashed the birthday celebration of rowdy Binu Pappachan and nabbed 75 of his friends who have been on the run. Binu had been in hiding for two years, until a group of history-sheeters decided to throw him a party to celebrate his 47th birthday.

The party was organised in a lorry shed in Malayambakkam village near Poonamallee, and around 100-odd guests (criminals) arrived, on 45 bikes and seven cars. But soon, policemen gatecrashed and wound up the party.

LUXURY LIFE IN JAIL? 

Prison officials carried out a series of raids at Puzhal campus a number of times after controversial pictures of a ‘luxurious’ life in prison were leaked in September.

The photos showed inmates casually using phones and clicking selfies with it. The inmates of high security prison complex were dressed in shorts and t-shirts and having home-cooked food from casseroles.

The raids led to the seizure of all 18 television sets and two FM radios on the prison campus, apart from mobile phones.
All charging points were removed from the campus after the inmates allegedly ‘misused’ the facilities. A few jail wardens faced departmental action following this.

CITY UNDER WATCH

City Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan sort of started a movement in the Chennai after he began urging the department and residents to instal CCTV cameras in every nook and corner to reduce crime and detect them.
The city police have a target of 1 lakh cameras. Commissioner Viswanathan went on a spree inaugurating a number of CCTV units in several neighbourhoods, appreciating residents and his colleagues for bringing the city under camera cover.

JUSTICE FOR HASINI, FINALLY

On 19 February, many heaved a sigh of relief after the Chengalpet Mahila Court sentenced Dashvanth (23), to death for the rape and brutal murder of seven-year-old Hasini in February 2017. Now we can say justice has been done to the little girl’s family.

CRACKDOWN ON HOSTELS

It took a shocking incident for officials to act upon unlicensed hostels in the city.

Sampath Raj, who ran a ladies hostel, was arrested by the city police after the inmates found cameras hidden in their bathrooms and bedrooms. The hostel was just two months old and had seven inmates. The case has brought to light the need for regularising hostels in the city, with many unlicensed ones operating illegally.

Naomi N