Palani, 40, was convicted by the POCSO court in February 2020.

Convict serving life term for raping child in Chennai apartment kills selfImage for representation - Pexels/Donald Tong
news Crime Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 18:32

A convict serving life imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 11-year-old girl in Ayanavaram, Chennai, killed himself in prison on Wednesday.

According to the police, Palani, 40, was found unconscious behind his cell.

“He had gone to relieve himself around 12.45 pm. When he didn’t return for a while, we started looking for him and found him unconscious. We immediately rushed him to the hospital inside the prison campus and administered first aid,” a prison official told TNM. Since first aid did not help bring him back to consciousness, he was taken to the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital around 2 pm on Wednesday. However, he was declared dead on arrival.

Palani was one of 15 men convicted of sexually assaulting a 11-year-old girl with hearing impairment in Ayanavaram, Chennai. In 2018, 17 men — all of them working in lift maintenance, plumbing and housekeeping duties in an apartment complex in Ayanavaram — were accused of sexually assaulting the child. The crime, which shook the city, was committed over a period of time and was brought to light by the survivor’s sister, to whom the girl had opened up.

The police had arrested all 17 men immediately and the trial in the case started in January 2019.

During the trial, one of the accused died following a brief illness. The Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court, which was hearing the case, pronounced the verdict in February 2020. It stated that 15 of the 17 men were guilty of committing the offence and acquitted one accused.

The court found nine of 15 men guilty of rape, of which five were sentenced to life imprisonment by the court. Palani was one of the five men sentenced to life till death. The five men were also found guilty of aggravated penetrative sexual assault by the court. While one convict was sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, nine others were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

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