Crime
"This is the most heinous crime," said Minister Jayakumar. "We will ensure that people like the accused are punished."

A day after 7-year-old Hasini's father broke his silence over the bail granted to his daughter’s alleged rapist and murderer, the Tamil Nadu government has promised to intervene. Speaking to media persons outside the AIADMK headquarters, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar announced that 22-year-old Dhasvanth will be punished.

"This is the most heinous crime," said Minister Jayakumar. "We will ensure that people like the accused are punished," he added.

He further emphasised that rules will be enacted to prevent such incidents in the future.

"Amma's Government will look into such cases to ensure that the culprits don't escape. We will also come out with rules that will protect children from child abuse," he said.

The case

In February, 7-year-old Hasini, who lived in an apartment complex with her family, suddenly went missing. She was last seen playing in the complex.

The police later found that her neighbour, 22-year-old Dhasvanth, allegedly lured her into his house, where he sexually assaulted and suffocated the little girl to death when she tried to raise an alarm. He then allegedly stuffed her body into a traveling bag and burned her body on a highway.

Neighbours alleged that the mechanical engineer had brought a puppy home about five months before the incident, and used that to get close to the children in the neighbourhood.

How Dhasvanth got bail

Dhasvanth was arrested by the police days after the murder, and was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012.

On March 20, even as investigations were underway in the case, police slapped the Goondas act against the accused - a strategy that the Tamil Nadu police has been using in recent times, against those charged under POCSO.

However, the police failed to file a chargesheet within 90 days of Dhasvanth’s arrest, which meant he got statutory bail in the case two months ago, according to sources.

The only reason he was still in jail was because of the Goonda’s Act. However, on Wednesday, the Madras High Court set aside his detention under the Goonda’s Act, and pulled up the police for delaying their reply to Dhasvanth’s father Sekar’s Habeas Corpus petition.

Once the detention under Goonda’s Act was set aside, Dhasvanth easily got bail, since the police hadn’t filed a chargesheet within 90 days of the arrest.

While speaking to TNM on Wednesday, Hasini's father, too, alleged that it was a delay on the part of the police in filing the chargesheet that led to the accused eventually getting bail.