Over two weeks after a case of sexual assault and extortion came to light in Tamil Nadu’s Pollachi town, local Member of Legislative Assembly V Jayaraman has denied any family links to the case. The MLA’s remarks are in response to allegations in a section of Tamil media that his son was allegedly involved in a crime network that comprised politically-connected men who sexually assaulted and extorted money from college girls.
Speaking to media persons outside the Secretariat in Chennai on Monday, Pollachi Jayaraman alleged that the issue was a conspiracy by the DMK. He said, “The DMK wants to create a bad name through this in the Pollachi Lok Sabha constituency after the elections have been announced. The instigator behind all this is MK Stalin's son-in-law Sabareesan. I am saying this on the basis because no news reports had published the information but my photo was published along with the line that a political party member and his two sons are involved. This is a big lie.” The MLA was referring to a picture that went viral on social media which faked a news channel's template and claimed that the minister's son was involved in the crime, making the police reluctant to act on the issue.
He added, “Any probe can be constituted for this. I want to state with certainty that neither me nor my family are involved in this in any way.”
The MLA claimed that the survivor’s family was willing to come on record for a televised interview. He also went on to state that it was he who ‘shed light on the issue.’
“This is a cheap act. The people of Pollachi, Coimbatore and Tirupur know very well about my family. They also know who was the reason behind the arrest of the accused. We have also asked the Election Commission to prevent the spread of fake news like this on social media. Whether there is a police investigation or a CBI investigation or an Interpol investigation, the person who will be caught is DMK district secretary(Coimbatore south) Thendral Selvaraj's son. He and the main accused are close, long time friends. The police should take appropriate action in this issue and investigate who is involved in this.” he said.
However, an AIADMK functionary called A Nagaraj is connected to the gang and he assaulted the victim's brother. He was arrested and let out on bail. On Monday, the AIADMK had sacked him.
On February 24, a Pollachi-based woman registered a complaint with a local police station, alleging that four men-- Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan and Vasanthakumar-- sexually assaulted her in a car under the pretext of a friendly meeting on February 12. Police confirmed that the perpetrators of the crime shot videos of the assault, using it later to extort money from the survivor. While Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar and Sathish were arrested on February 24, Thirunavukkarasu was apprehended on March 5.
Soon after the survivor narrated her ordeal to her family, her brother Subhash confronted the men about the incident. The confrontation soon escalated to a physical altercation where Subhash was assaulted by four men. According to the police, AIADMK functionary A Nagaraj came to the defence of Thirunavukkarasu after the confrontation, threatening and assaulting Subhash. Subhash lodged a complaint with the police. While the initial FIR did not mention him, Nagaraj's name was later added. All five of them are now out on bail, said the police.