More arrests likely in sex assault case

The names of at least six persons had cropped up in the statements given by the three girls

The CBI is investigating the role of more people in the Pollachi sexual assault case.

Sources privy to the investigation said the names of at least six persons had cropped up in the statements given by three girls who were allegedly sexually assaulted and blackmailed by a group of men from Pollachi. Of them, the CBI arrested K. Arulanantham, 34, of Vadugapalayam, who was the AIADMK Pollachi town students’ wing secretary (since expelled); Haron Paul, 29, of Achipatty; and P. Babu alias ‘Bike’ Babu, 27, on Tuesday. K. Thirunavukkarasu, 28; N. Rishwanth alias Sabarirajan, 26; M. Sathish, 30; T. Vasanthakumar, 25; and R. Manivannan, 31, all hailing from Pollachi, are the other accused in the case, who were arrested based on a complaint lodged by another survivor, a 19-year-old girl, in February 2019.

The CBI identified the three girls from some of the videos which were leaked following the arrest of the first five accused.

Sources said the CBI team, which was camping in Coimbatore district, was on the lookout for the other men whose names were mentioned by the three girls.

‘Shielding partymen’

Meanwhile, accusing the ruling AIADMK of shielding important party persons involved in the case, the DMK announced a multi-party protest on January 10, led by the DMK’s women’s wing secretary, Kanimozhi, to demand action.

DMK president M.K. Stalin said the ruling party had protected its local student wing leader till he was arrested by the CBI. Social media was now full of reports and photographs of him with Ministers and other AIADMK leaders, he added.

“It is clear that there are a lot more people involved than those already arrested. Though the AIADMK has expelled student wing leader Arulanantham, there are others who are being shielded by the AIADMK. [In 2019] Forty eight hours after one Thirunavukkarasu had released a video accusing the government of making him and others scapegoats in the case, he was arrested,” Mr. Stalin said. He said his party would not rest till all those who were behind the case were arrested and brought to justice.

The DMK’s youth wing also pasted posters against the AIADMK in Pollachi.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association also demanded a fair probe. The association’s Tamil Nadu president S. Valentina in Coimbatore said the investigating agency should arrest all the persons involved.

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