Chennai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested three more people, including a ruling AIADMK functionary in connection with the sensational 2019 Pollachi sexual assault and blackmailing case.
The arrests were made more than a year after the CBI took over the probe from the Tamilnadu Crime Branch-CID wing.
Those arrested were AIADMK Pollachi student wing secretatary K Arulanandam, Bike Babu and Keron Paul.
Later, they were produced before the Coimbatore Mahila Court which remanded them in judicial custody till 20 January.
The Tamilnadu government had on 14 March, 2019 issued an order transferring the probe into the recent sexual assault and blackmailing of several women in Pollachi by a group of people, to the CBI in the wake of widespread protests and the Opposition parties, including the DMK, demanding punitive action against all those involved in it.
Soon after the incident surfaced in February 2019, four people were arrested and they were later detained under the Goondas Act.
The four–Thirunavukkarasu, who is the mastermind in the case, Sathish, Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar–all in their 20s, were accused of sexually assaulting many young women in Pollachi area over a period of time and filming the act.
The mobile phones seized from the accused had videos of at least 40 women who the accused had allegedly blackmailed for money and sexual favours.
The GO said the DGP, on a complaint from a college student on 24 February, 2019 that she was physically and sexually harassed by a group of men inside a car, cases were registered at Pollachi
East Police Station under Sec 354-A, 354-B and 392 of IPC (Central Act XLV of 1860) and Sec 66-E of Information Technology Act, 2000 and Sec 4 of Tamilnadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998 (Tamilnadu Act 44 of 1998) against the four accused, who were later arrested.
It said on 26 February, the girl’s brother Boobalan in a complaint said he was assaulted with a threat to his life by four people, Senthil, Babu, Mani alias Manivannan and Vasanthakumar, following which cases were registered under Sec 341, 294(b), 323, 324 and 506 Part 2 of IPC.
Subsequently Senthil, Babu and Vasanthakumar were arrested and produced before the Judicial Magistrate-1 Court and sent to judicial custody.
Another accused, Nagaraj alias Muthusamy was also arrested the next day and remanded in judicial custody and all were released on bail by the JM court.
It said the DGP had transferred both these cases to CB-CID on 12 March, 2019.
“Since the investigation involves technical issues, including analysing of face book data I.P.logs/ addresses and internet usage logs, the communication with Facebook service providers and other internet service providing places in various countries, the nature of the crime is extremely serious thereby demanding some specilaised attention and require more laborious and dedicated investigation with technical expertise,” the GO said.
The case of serial sexual assault and blackmailing of scores of women by the gang, said to be politically influential in Pollachi, triggered widespread political and social outrage after a leaked video of a victim pleading with her tormentors to leave her.