The Tamil Nadu government informed the Madras High Court that it was transferring all FIRs registered in the Pollachi case to the CBI, the agency now tasked with the probe.

Pollachi sexual assault Madras HC seeks TN govt CBI reply on court-monitored probe
news Court Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 09:06

The Madras High Court has sought a response from the Tamil Nadu government and the CBI regarding a court-monitored probe into the case of sexual assault and extortion in Tamil Nadu's Pollachi town. Issuing notices to both parties on Tuesday, the first bench of Chief Justice VK Tahilramani and Justice M Duraiswamy was hearing a PIL by an advocate who had sought a court-monitored probe in the case.

According to a report in the Times of India, the petitioner's argument cited Director General of Police TK Rajendran's remarks that the case needed special attention. According to a Government Order issued by the DGP on March 13, the case had been recommended for a transfer to the CBI on account of the nature of the crime being extremely serious and involving specialised technical expertise to analyse content on Facebook. Therefore, the petitioner argued that the case also warranted a court-monitored probe, especially since the complainant was not the only victim in the case.

The probe into the case involves an investigation into a wider network of men who regularly befriend women online, sexually assault and film them to blackmail them later. The case sent shockwaves across the state last week. The case first came to light in February when a 19-year-old college student from Pollachi approached the local police after she was sexually assaulted and robbed. Based on the survivor’s complaint, four men-- Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan and Vasanthakumar-- were arrested by the police.

Nakkeeran Gopal’s advance bail disposed

Hearing a related case on the Pollachi issue, Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court disposed of an anticipatory bail plea by Gopal, editor of Tamil bi-weekly Nakkeeran. The journalist had been summoned by the Chennai Cyber Crime Police last week, based on a complaint by Pollachi MLA and Tamil Nadu Deputy Speaker, Pollachi Jayaraman who alleged that Gopal was defaming him. The journalist had released a 24-minute-long video allegedly linking the MLA and his sons to the Pollachi case.

According to a report in The Hindu, the court told Gopal that he could approach the court if he was apprehensive about his arrest again. The court’s remarks came after the Tamil Nadu government informed the court that it was transferring all FIRs registered in the Pollachi case to the CBI 'to ensure that a single agency investigates all the cases’. Notably, according to the newspaper, the court had also pondered on why simultaneous investigations were taking place by multiple agencies. The newspaper also reports that the court disapproved of Nakkeeran uploading such a video to its social media channel.

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