An incident of sexual assault of college student by a group of men has put Pollachi high on alert. The woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in a car when she went to meet a man who she was friends with on Facebook. Following the incident, Coimbatore police are on the lookout for the main accused in the case – the owner and driver of the car – while three others have been arrested.
Priya*, a second year college student in a private college in Pollachi, got acquainted with Sabarirajan through social media. On February 12, Sabarirajan called Priya and asked her to meet him in Unjavelampatty, near Pollachi, to introduce her to his friends. As she reached Unjavelampatty, Sabarirajan asked her to sit in a car with him. When the car started moving, three others got inside the car and reportedly sexually assaulted Priya, and also took videos on their mobile phones.
The group then threatened Priya to submit to their wishes or give them money, which Priya refused. Angered by this, they snatched the gold chain she was wearing and pushed her out of the car and drove away. The group then continued to call and blackmail Priya to extort money from her. Unable to bear the repeated calls for money and the emotional torture, Priya filed a police complaint.
Speaking to TNM about the incident, Pollachi DSP R Jeyaram said that on Monday, the police went in search of the main accused. “We went to take Sabarirajan into custody, when two other men entered into an altercation with us. So, we arrested all three of them and questioned them. All of them accepted their crime. The main accused, Thirunavukkarasu (26) is absconding. We are looking for him,” he said.
The other two arrested men have been identified as Sathish and Vasanthakumar. They, along with Sabarirajan, hail from in and around Pollachi. Cases have been registered against all four of them under sections 354(A) (sexual harassment), 354 (B) (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) of the IPC and 66(E) (Punishment for violation of privacy) of Information Technology Act, 2000 and section 4 (Penalty for harassment of woman) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women’s Harassment Act.
The DSP further told TNM, “All these men are not first-time offenders. On questioning some of the locals, we have come to know that these men have committed similar crimes many times before. But there are no police complaints in any of those instances.” Adding that the accused are all engineering graduates, the DSP said, “We urge the public to come forward if they have been affected by any of these men. We will take their complaints and also act on them.”
The arrested men have been remanded to judicial custody.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity