In a fresh development in the shocking child abuse case in Edappal, Malappuram, where a 10-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a 60-year-old man inside a movie hall, the Crime Branch has filed a report which says that the police made lapses in their investigation.
The report stated that the arrest of the cinema hall owner EC Satheesh, who first brought the case to light by contacting Childline, was a major lapse by the state police. It also confirmed that the owner did not circulate the visuals and that he immediately contacted Childline, quashing the police case against the owner, according to a Mathrubhumi report.
The arrest of the cinema hall owner sparked a lot of outrage as it was seen as the police's attempt to pass the buck on in the case. The Changaramkulam police, who were investigating the case, alleged the owner had leaked the CCTV footages of the abuse and had failed to inform the police in time. He was booked under Section 19 of the POCSO Act.
However, the owner had contacted Childline on April 19, a day after the incident took place and later submitted the footage to them. After examining the footage, Childline handed it over to the Changaramkulam police on the very same day. However, the police did not take prompt action in the case, forcing Childline to approach Mathrubhumi channel on May 12, with blurred portions of the visual.
The owner was later let off on bail due to the protests against his arrest. Following the incident, Malappuram district crime record bureau DySP Shaju Varghese, who had sanction the arrest of Satheesh, got transferred to the police headquarters. Changaramkulam SI KG Baby too had been arrested for negligence over registering the case.
The case was then transferred to the Crime Branch.
The report also stated that the Crime Branch will file a chargesheet within one month with cinema hall owner Satheesh as witness in the case.