Probe into sexual assault could take us beyond Pollachi: CB-CID to TNM
The CB-CID in Tamil Nadu, which has been investigating the Pollachi sexual assault and extortion case, is expecting the scope of the probe to go beyond the small town in Coimbatore district. Speaking to TNM, a highly placed source in the investigating team, when asked if the investigation for the case would go beyond the geographic perimeter of Pollachi, said, "Of course, we are expecting that. Based on where the leads take us, we will be moving with the investigation."
The Pollachi sexual assault case which first came to light in February as an isolated crime, took a ghastly turn last week as videos of more survivors flooded social media. Based on the complaint of a victim who approached them, an FIR was filed on February 24 against four men involved in sexually assaulting and blackmailing her with a recorded video of the crime. It was later alleged that they were repeat offenders who have assaulted and extorted money from several women.
The CB-CID has been searching the homes of the four main accused – Sabarirajan alias Riswandh, a 25-year-old civil engineer in Pollachi; Thirunavukkarasu, a 26-year-old financier; Vasanthakumar, who works for Thirunavukkarasu to collect money from clients; and Sathish, the owner of a readymade garments shop in Pollachi.
While several reports are claiming different numbers of survivors, the police say they are yet to zero in on a figure. TNM had earlier reported that there are videos of at least six women released on social media. "We can neither confirm nor deny that figure,” the officer said.
“The investigations are at a very sensitive stage and we cannot quote a number at this point. Whether it is 10, 60 or more – the fact is they are not numbers, they are people. We are yet to zero in on a correct figure ourselves. The media may be saying 60 but we cannot say anything yet,” he said.
With the state government and the certain police officers revealing the identity of the survivor who filed the complaint, it is no surprise when the investigating official says no other survivors have come forward to file a complaint so far. And despite some videos clearly showing the women being abused, the police, too, have refrained from reaching out to them.
"No other victims have come forward and we don't want to go force them to come out. The victim has to come out. Even if we can identify the victim, we don't think it will be proper for us to approach them, it is a very sensitive issue," the officer said.
The case will now be handed over to the CBI by the CB-CID, which had custody of the main accused Thirunavukkarasu for four days.