A day after the city police invoked Goondas Act against three men accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in Coimbatore, the police slapped Goondas Act on the other three accused in the case too.
According to sources, the Commissioner of Police gave orders to invoke provisions of Goondas Act on Karthikeyan, Prakash and Narayanamoorthy on Monday. With this, all the six accused in the case -- Manikandan, Karthik, Rahul, Karthikeyan, Prakash and Narayanamoorthy -- have been remanded under judicial custody along with Goondas Act slapped on them.
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, which usually is granted if the chargesheet is not filed within 90 days. Though police in Tamil Nadu have used the Goondas Act before on people accused of sexual crimes, there have been instances when the court has struck it down.
On November 26, a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by these men at a park in Seeranaickenpalayam area in Coimbatore. According to a complaint from the girlâ€™s mother, the girl was out with her boyfriend on the day of the incident to celebrate her birthday. As the couple neared a park in Seeranaickenpalayam area of the city, they bumped into these six men.
Attacking the boyfriend first, the men made him strip and took videos of him on their phones and chased him away. They then turned to the girl and threatened her to strip. As she refused, they allegedly attacked her, sexually assaulted her, and took videos and photos of the act. The girl narrated the 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 â€“ including sexual assault, using a child in media for sexual gratification, and using a child for pornographic purposes â€“ 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)