A special investigation team of the Wayanad police have arrested the main accused in the Ambalavayal moral policing case, where three men allegedly harassed and beat up a young couple from Tamil Nadu and attempted to rape the woman.
The main accused, identified as 39-year-old Sajeevanandan, was arrested on Monday, confirmed Mananthavady ASP Vaibhav Saxena, who led the team which tracked down the accused.
Sources aware of the developments also confirmed that Sajeevanandan had fled to Karnataka to evade arrest and was working as a farm labourer when he was tracked down.
"There are three accused and we have arrested two of the accused so far. Search is on for the third accused who only accompanied the two others. We were initially focusing on tracking down the first two accused," Vaibhav told TNM.
On July 21, the husband who hails from Ooty and the wife from Coimbatore, had arrived at Ambalavayal and had taken a room at a lodge, which was owned by second accused Kumar. Kumar called Sajeevandan and the third accused and entered the couple's room when the husband had stepped out.
"Under the assumption that the man and woman were friends, the accused persons entered the woman's room and demanded that she sleep with them, without her consent. When the husband returned and got to know what happened, a physical fight broke out between the accused and the couple," an officer at the Ambalavayal station added.
On vacating the lodge, the third accused - Roy - allegedly held the woman's hand and asked her to stay back, the officer added. As they were walking to the town bus stop, Sajeevanandan and Kumar came in their bike and stopped them. Following this, the Sajeevanandan allegedly beat up both the man and the woman.
The incident came to light after a video of the three men assaulting the couple spread on social media shortly after the incident took place.
"We have registered a case under sections 452 (house trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 323 (physical assault), 294 - B (uttering obscene words in public), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354 (A) (2) - punishment for sexual harassment, 354 (B) - assault or criminal force on woman with intent to disrobe, 354 (D) (1) - stalking, 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50), 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 511 of 376 (attempt to rape) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC," the officer said.