In a significant development, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) MR Ajith Kumar suspended TD Sunil Kumar, the investigation officer of the Vandiperiyar case on February 1. Sunil Kumar, who currently served as the Station House Officer(SHO) in Vazhakkulam, Ernakulam, was relieved of his duties after a lower court criticised him over the investigation with the rape and murder of a 5-year-old child in Vandiperiyar in Kerala’s Idukki district.
The suspension notice issued by ADGP Ajith Kumar made reference to the court's criticism of Sunil Kumar's handling of the investigation. It highlighted serious lapses in the investigative process, including the failure to collect crucial evidence promptly, leaving it vulnerable to tampering.
Furthermore, ADGP Ajith Kumar has directed the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ernakulam rural to conduct a thorough inquiry into the allegations against Sunil Kumar and submit a comprehensive report.
This action comes after the verdict in the case by the special fast-track POCSO court in Kerala's Kattappana. On Thursday, December 14, the court acquitted the lone accused in the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl, who was killed on June 30, 2021, in her neighborhood.
Despite the prosecution's presentation of 48 witnesses and examination of over 69 documents, Judge V Manju of the Special Court for POCSO cases found the case against the accused, Arjun, weak. Judge Manju criticised the investigation officer for serious shortcomings, including the failure to collect fingerprints and leaving crucial evidence unattended for days, thus compromising its integrity.
Judge Manju emphasised the importance of a meticulous and scientific approach to evidence collection and investigation. She highlighted the reliance on circumstantial evidence due to the absence of eyewitnesses and stressed the need for such evidence to be complete and unequivocal in establishing the guilt of the accused.