The 65-year-old correspondent of a school in Trichy, who was arrested for sexually assaulting minors in the girls' hostel run by the school, died of health complications on Sunday. Dharmaraju, who was the in-charge of the hostel for the last 10 years, was accused by five girls, aged between 10 and 14, of sexually assaulting them while in the hostel.
Soon after the incident came to light, Dharmaraju went missing in a bid to escape from the police. On March 1, he surrendered before the Musiri court and was handed over to the police. The same day, he complained of chest pain and was admitted in a hospital.
The police had then told TNM that once he was discharged, the police would proceed with the remaining formalities necessary to remand him.
The incident of the sexual assault came to light on February 27, when one of the girls called her mother and told that Dharmaraju had sexually assaulted her. The parents rushed to the hostel to meet their child and later filed a police complaint at the Lalgudi All Womenâ€™s Police Station the same day.
An FIR was registered against Dharmaraju under sections 9 (l) [sexual assault on a child more than once], 9 (d) [sexual assault on a child in a home by the staff or member of management of such home] and 10 [Punishment for aggravated sexual assault] of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Based on the complaint, the police questioned the other girls at the hostel, four of whom also said that the correspondent had misbehaved with them as well.
Following the death of Dharmaraju on Sunday, the Trichy police have registered a case.