The Coimbatore police remanded Santosh Kumar, 34, who was arrested on Sunday for raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl child. He was produced before the Mahila court judge around 4.30 am on Monday and later locked up in Coimbatore Central Prison.
The police arrested the man on Sunday, almost a week after the incident came to light. The police had earlier told TNM that the accused had confessed to have sexually assaulted the child twice before the incident that led to her death. The accused has been remanded to judicial custody till April 15.
The case began with a â€˜Missing personâ€™ complaint filed by a seven-year-old girlâ€™s mother in Coimbatoreâ€™s Thudiyalur police station on the night of March 25. In the FIR, it was stated that the girl went missing around 6 pm on March 25.
On March 26, the police was informed about the corpse of a girl child found near the house of the missing child. The body, which had injuries all over it, was found with the face covered with a t-shirt and hands tied. The police recovered the body and sent it for autopsy to the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital.
The post-mortem confirmed that the child was sexually assaulted and murdered, and hence the initial FIR was altered to include sections 376A (causing death of rape victim) of the IPC along with sections 5(l) (Whoever commits penetrative sexual assault on the child more than once or repeatedly), 5(m) (Whoever commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below twelve years) and 6 (Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act. The police also formed 10 special teams to trace the perpetrators of the gruesome crime.
Various welfare groups conducted a road roko and submitted a petition to the Coimbatore district collector urging him to act swiftly to nab the person(s) behind the crime. While the collector assured action and strict punishment to those behind the crime, the Coimbatore police also announced a reward on March 28 for anyone who gives information regarding the culprits behind the rape and murder.
After questioning more than 50 people in connection with the crime, the police narrowed down the suspects to four men, of whom Santosh Kumar was one. Rigorous questioning of the four men led to the police zeroing in on Santosh Kumar as the culprit, as his grandfatherâ€™s house was in the same locality as the girlâ€™s and he was visiting his ailing grandmother the day the girl went missing. The police further confirmed this with the location record of his phone.
On Sunday, the police arrested Santosh Kumar after he reportedly confessed that he sexually assaulted the child and killed her. He also told the police that he had been sexually assaulting the girl for the past six months and this time he caught hold of her when she came out of her house to play. As the child died when he raped her, Santosh said he hid the body in his house till the police abandoned their search on March 25, and disposed it nearby after covering the face with his t-shirt.
Around 4.30 am on Monday, he was made to appear in front of the Mahila court judge at her residence in Coimbatore, who remanded him to judicial custody till April 15.