Pollachi sex abuse: Four-member gang harassed, videographed 50+ women
In a shocking incident, a group of four men, all in their 20s, sexually harassed over 50 women in Tamil Nadu, police said. The gang from Pollachi had a set modus operandi- they befriended women on Facebook, asked them to meet them, and harassed them in moving cars or hotels. The accused also videographed the abuse which they allegedly used to threaten the victims.
Three out of four men were arrested in February and on Monday their remand was extended. The case got attention when a 19-year-old victim mustered the courage to speak up. The college-going student was friends with Sabarirajan, one of the accused. On February 12, Sabarirajan asked the girl to bunk classes and meet him. The girl went to meet Sabarirajan in a secluded area in Pollachi.
When the girl reached the spot, Sabarirajan asked the woman to sit inside the car. As she sat inside the vehicle, three friends of Sabarirajan entered as well. The four men then assaulted the girl and made videos. Later, Sabarirajan threatened the victim with the video and extorted money. Unable to keep up with the assault, the girl confided in her family.
Subsequently, the girl's brother went to the gang asking them to delete the videos and pictures. The men then threatened the brother, prompting the family to approach the police. The police arrested Sabarirajan, and his accomplices Vasanthakumar and Sathish. After being nabbed, the men reportedly confessed to the crime. They also accepted the student wasn't their first victim and several women were harassed.
An officer privy to the investigation revealed that after "becoming friends" with the women, the men started talking about lesbianism and other sex-related topics. "Conversations turned into sexual chats and they later revealed their identity and forced the women to meet in person citing their chats," the officer said. Teachers, doctors, senior secondary and college students, were harassed by the accused.
According to reports, the gang was lead by one Thirunavukkarasu, who was arrested on March 5. Thirunavukkarasu was the one who befriended women and later Sabarirajan took over. As the case caused outrage, Thirunavukkarasu released audio claiming innocence. "There is a lot of details about important party men in those videos and photos. I am going to tell a big truth," he reportedly said.
Notably, a separate case was registered by police for threatening the college-going student's brother. One of the accused in this case was A Nagaraj, a leader of the AIADMK. Following widespread outrage over his involvement, the ruling party expelled Nagaraj from all party posts. The opposition led by DMK accused AIADMK of protecting the accused. A leader of PMK, AIADMK's alliance, also demanded action.
The four accused have been booked under IPC Sections 354 (A) and 354 (B), Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Women Harassment Act and the stringent Goondas Act. A short while ago Tamil Nadu DGP T K Rajendran said the case has been transferred to CB-CID (Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department).