In the petition to the police, advocate P Arul has stated that a group of men, including a leader from the AIADMK and a man pretending to be a journalist, is involved in the matter.

A month after the sexual abuse and extortion of women in Pollachi came to light, an advocate in Perambalur district has reported a similar case. In a petition to the police, he has alleged that a group of men have been abusing, video-recording and blackmailing over 20 women in the town. The district police have confirmed to TNM that the advocate's petition has been accepted and that the matter is under investigation.

In the petition dated April 21, advocate P Arul has stated that a group of men, including an important leader in the district from the ruling party and a man pretending to be a journalist, is involved. They allegedly befriend unsuspecting housewives and college girls, call them to a private location, sexually assault them and take videos of the assault. These videos are later used to threaten them for more sexual favours or to extort money, the petition adds. If the women try to resist, the men then allegedly threaten to release the videos in a public domain. Fearing social repercussion, the women have apparently remained silent and done as told by the blackmailers.

"The case came to me after the relatives of some of these women told me that this had happened to girls they know. I came to know before the elections but could only pursue it now," says advocate Arul. "The modus operandi of these men was very clear. They will befriend these women, either through social media or exchange numbers at some kind of a social event like a wedding. They will then earn their trust by meeting and calling them often. Once the friendship is established, they then call them to a star hotel in the vicinity under some kind of excuse and take them to a room there. The women are then sexually assaulted," he alleges.

The ‘fake journalist’ and politician allegedly involved

"The so-called-journalist is actually someone who works for a local entertainment channel and is the one who was shooting the videos of assault. The video is then sent to the AIADMK leader, who is part of this racket," alleges Arul. "In some scenarios, the women were called to the hotel under the pretence of an interview. A few of them had consensual sex but even this was videotaped and later used for blackmail. I have spoken to the parents and the victims themselves. At least 20 women have been blackmailed like this," he adds.

Following the complaint, the Perambalur All Women Police registered a case against unknown persons on Sunday, under IPC sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) 506 (i) (criminal intimidation) and under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2008.

The advocate has also lodged a complaint seeking an enquiry, where he submitted the names of those allegedly involved and the hotel where the assault took place.

"But the police are now asking for all the evidence in my possession, including call recording with the victims and videos of assault. My fear is that they will not follow through this investigation due pressure from the ruling party. And if they reveal the identity of the victims, their lives are at risk," says Arul.