One of the 17 accused in the Ayanavaram child rape case in Chennai died after a short illness on Sunday. According to reports, 35-year-old Babu was a lift operator in an apartment complex in Chennai. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and lung infection in 2009. In July 2018, he was one the 17 people accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl in the apartment where he worked. He was arrested and imprisoned in Puzhal prison.
Days after his remand, his health worsened and he was admitted to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, where he was until a month ago. In the meantime, Babu had applied for bail twice citing his poor health, which the court had refused. 10 days ago, Babu was admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital due to illness, and passed away on Sunday morning due to multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest.
Babuâ€™s mother Doraisamy Ammal accused the doctors and the nurses in Rajiv Gandhi hospital of not providing Babu with proper treatment. According to the Times of India, she said that the medical staff used to abuse and ill-treat her son as they had decided that Babu was a rapist. Babuâ€™s father also accused the hospital of medical negligence and said that the family was forced to pay for Babuâ€™s treatment despite him falling ill while in judicial custody.
In July 2018, Babu was arrested after it came to light that when the survivor confided in her sister and the survivorâ€™s statement led to the arrest of 17 men between the ages of 23 and 66 in July 2018. The men worked in various capacities in her apartment complex. In September 2018, a chargesheet was filed in the case, after which 14 of the 17 accused filed a petition to transfer the case to a different judge. They alleged that the Mahila Court judge, who is trying the case, is â€˜conducting the case as media trial and hurrying it up for the best reasons known to her.â€™ However, Justice Anand Venkatesan of the Madras High Court dismissed their petition in January and ordered that the case be completed in three weeks.