The Tiruvallur police have submitted to the District Collector Uma Maheshwari a detailed account on allegations made by victims of child sexual abuse against Mahila Court Special Public Prosecutor Dhanalakshmi. The report, with accounts detailing the prosecutor's attempts to intimidate and threaten complainants, has also been sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecution. The District police have requested that the prosecutor be removed from the Mahila court.
The report was compiled by the police after two families approached the Superintendent of Police P Aravindhan with complaints against the prosecutor last week. The family of a child with speech impairment and learning disabilities, who was sexually assaulted in 2015, alleged that their case ended in acquittal after advocate Dhanalakshmi took money from the accused. Another victim who was raped as a minor and is now 20 years old, also approached the police with complaints against the same Public Prosecutor, alleging that she 'tortured' her to talk to the man who raped her. She was supposedly told to either marry her rapist or take his money and drop the case.
Speaking to TNM, a senior police official says, "We have attached all the evidence collected and sent it to the Collector and Directorate of Prosecution. The collector has already been briefed on the details of this case and will be looking through the report. We have requested that the prosecutor be removed."
In addition to this, the police reveal that yet another complaint has emerged against Dhanakshmi, where she has allegedly taken money from the family of a victim in a dowry death case.
"We will be investigating that as well, " says the senior officer.
In July this year, advocates from Bar Associations across Tiruvallur protested against the prosecutor and alleged that she is indulging in malpractice and corruption. However, no action was taken against her despite petitions sent to the Collector. Police attribute this to the fact that Dhanalakshmi is a political appointee.
In Magistrate Courts, the prosecutor is appointed through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. In High Courts and District courts meanwhile, the ruling government can appoint prosecutors for a two-year period and later choose to renew the appointment. Prosecutors in the high courts and district courts are often referred to as political appointees, and in the Tiruvallur case, the prosecutor is considered to have the support of the ruling government, despite her alleged unlawful behaviour.
Multiple attempts made by TNM to contact the district collector regarding this went unanswered.