In an appalling cover-up in Telangana’s Mahabubnagar district, a man who stands accused of rape of a minor girl whom he promised to marry, has been let off the village elders after paying a ‘penalty’ of around Rs 2 lakh.
The incident allegedly took place on August 1 in Narayanpet village. According to police, the man – 32-year-old Chinna Venkaiah alias Venkatesh – employed the 17-year-old in his cotton field, befriended her, and raped her on the promise of marriage.
Months later, the victim’s mother realised that she was five-months pregnant. On learning the name of the perpetrator, the family called for the panchayat to be convened; she demanded that the accused marry the victim.
However, the accused – already married – refused, and called some village elders to argue on his behalf. The elders then allegedly decided that the accused should pay Rs 2.1 lakh to the family of the victim as ‘penalty’ for raping her, and that he be ousted from the village. The victim’s family was allegedly forced to sign a bond agreement, giving their consent to the terms of the agreement.
But when journalists learned of the incident and reported about it, the police caught on. On Thursday, they arrested four men, including the rape accused. Three others are said to be absconding.
Speaking to TNM, Narayanpet Circle Inspector, Y Ramakrishna said, “We have arrested the main accused, Venkaiah under POCSO (Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act) and the other three accused who attempted to conceal the crime and prevented the victim from approaching police were also booked under relevant sections.”
“Three others are still missing. We will nab them soon,” Ramakrishna added.
Police said that the arrested accused are still denying that they had collected Rs 2.1 lakh for concealing the crime.
The victim is under the care of her mother, police said.