Eight months after seven-year-old Hasini was sexually assaulted, murdered and burnt in a Chennai suburb, a Chengalpet court has begun trial in the case.
The 22-year-old accused in the case Dhasvanth along with his legal team and the father of the victim were present in the court on Tuesday. The police then handed over the chargesheet to the court and copies to both parties.
TNM has accessed excerpts of the chargesheet filed by the Mangadu police and the charges against the accused include - Sections 363 (Kidnapping), 366 (Abduction), 354 B (use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 302(murder), 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence).
In addition to this, he has also been charged under various sections of POCSO act.
"We were all in court today and trial has finally begun," says the victim's father. "We got a copy of the chargesheet and it is with our lawyers. The framing of charges was then completed by the court," he adds.
In all trials under the Criminal Procedure Code the accused is informed of the charges before the trial begins. In case of serious offences the Code requires that the accusations are to be formulated and reduced to writing. This 'charge' is then to be read out and explained to the accused person.
"The judge then asked if the accused admits to being guilty of the charges and he said no," says Sherin, an NGO worker who has been closely following this case.
An investigating officer meanwhile told TNM that the case against the accused is very strong. "We have enough proof from the DNA report, the house of the accused and circumstantial evidence to back the charges," he explains.
The next hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.
On March 20, even as investigations were underway, police slapped the Goondas act against Dhasvanth. His father had applied for his bail in a Mahila Court in Chengalpet even before the he was booked under the Goondas Act.
Dhasvanth’s father had then filed a habeas corpus petition in front of the Madras High Court. The court accused the police of not responding to the petition filed by the father on time and of delaying the case. It further added that this was against the rights of the petitioner. Thus, Dhasvanth’s detention under Goondas Act was set aside and he got bail in September.