The Coimbatore city police have slapped Goondas Act on three people accused of sexual assault of a minor in Seeranaickenpalayam in November.
According to sources, the police have added sections of the Goondas Act on three of the six accused in the case -- Manikandan, Karthik and Rahul on Friday. The police are also working on charging Goondas Act on the other three accused in the case -- Prakash, Karthikeyan and Narayanamoorthy. All six accused are currently lodged in the Coimbatore central jail.
The Goondas Act, which is a popular term for The Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Forest-offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-grabbers and Video Pirates Act is usually invoked by the police on the accused to deny him or her a shot at getting bail. Normally in such cases, bail is granted if the chargesheet is not filed within 90 days and in some cases after the chargesheet is filed. Though police in Tamil Nadu have used the Goondas Act before on people accused in sexual crimes, there have been instances when the court has struck it down.
The case relates to the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl at a park in Seeranaickenpalayam area in Coimbatore. According to a complaint from the girl’s mother, the girl was out with her boyfriend on November 26 to celebrate her birthday. The couple went to a park in Seeranaickenpalayam where they bumped into six men.
The men first attacked the boyfriend, stripped him and took his videos on their phones. After chasing him away, they then confronted the girl and threatened her to strip. Since she refused to comply, they allegedly attacked her, sexually assaulted her, and took videos and photos of the act. The girl narrated her ordeal to her mother on November 28.
Based on the complaint, the police registered an FIR against the six men under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act – including sexual assault, using a child in media for sexual gratification, and using a child for pornographic purposes – along with section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506(2) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
The police arrested four men -- Rahul, Prakash, Karthikeyan and Narayanamoorthy -- on November 30. Manikandan, the prime accused in the case surrendered in front of the Mahila Court in Coimbatore on December 3.
(With inputs from Sudhakar Balasundaram)