Chennai: A Special Court under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act here today awarded quantum of punishment to 15 of the 17 accused in the 2018 sensational Ayanavaram minor girl gang rape case.
While one of the accused was acquitted, another had died during the trial period. The case pertained to the gang rape of a 12-year-old hearing impaired girl by 17 people, working as plumbers, housekeepers, security guard and lift operators, in a gated community at Ayanavaram in the city for nearly seven months.
Special Judge R N Manjula, who had convicted all the 15 accused in the case on Saturday, while acquitting one of the accused P Gunasekaran, today awarded life term till death for four accused, life term to one, seven years jail term to another and five years imprisonment to the remaining nine accused. The Judge however, did not impose any fine on the accused.
The accused were R Ravikumar (56), M Suresh (32), A Rajasekar (40), A Erald Bross (58), B J Sugumaran (65), N Abishek (23), K Murugesu (54), N Paramasivam (60), N Palani (40), A Jayaganesh (28), P Gunasekaran (55), N Babu (36), B Deenadayalan (50), A Jayaraman (26), E Surya (23), J Raja (30) and A Umapathy (42) and they were charged under various provisions of the IPC and under POCSO Act.
Those awarded life till death (cannot be released on good conduct) were prime accused Ravikumar, who was handed two life terms, Suresh, Abishek and Palani. The third accused in the case Rajasekar was awarded life term, while fourth accused Erald Bross was awarded seven years jail term.
Counsel for the accused told reporters that he would file an appeal in the Madras High Court. Police submitted 70 pieces of evidence in the case and charged the accused under sections 354-B (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 366 (kidnapping), 376-AB, 376-DB, 506 (i) and 506(ii) of the IPC and sec 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act.
The trial was conducted by special public prosecutor N Ramesh before the special court judge from January to December last year. One of the accused N Babu, died of ill health during the trial, and the remaining 16 faced trial.
The shocking and horrific incident came to light on 17 July last year after the victim narrated her ordeal to her elder sister, who had come home on holiday from New Delhi, following which her parents lodged a complaint with the All Women Police Station.
After their arrest, all the 17 were detained under the Goondas Act, which was confirmed by the Goondas Advisory Board. Cases were registered under the provisions of POCSO Act and also under various sections of the IPC, including attempt to murder.
What was even more shocking was that many of the culprits, who have committed the inhuman and barbaric act, were above 50 and 60 years of age. The culprits sedated the girl with injections containing drugs, administered soft drinks mixed with sedatives and sexually assaulted her and videographed it. They repeatedly exploited her by threatening her that they would release the videos.
The girl told the police that Ravikumkar (66), a lift operater in the 300-unit apartment complex was the first to sexually assault her in January this year when he accosted her immediately after she arrived from the school.
A couple of days later, he brought two others, who too sexually assaulted her and videographed it, before others joined by taking the seventh standard girl student to secluded places in the complex like basement, washrooms, terrace and the gym, where Ravi and his accomplices repeatedly raped her.
According to the police, the girl had been sexually assaulted by the offenders – all service staff in the gated community she lived – between 15 January and 5 July.