Two accused involved in the 18-year-old sensational Vithura sex scandal, in which a minor girl was abducted and gangraped, were acquitted after the victim failed to identify her assaulters owing to the delayed trial.
The victim, who is now married and is a mother of a kid, had appeared in 22 separate cases over last one year at the special session court in Kottayam. The trial in other seven cases pending as a magistrate court in Kochi is yet to be committed to the special court. The accused in another case, tried in 2007, was also acquitted.
On Tuesday, when the verdict in the last of the first batch of 15 cases was pronounced, the court let free two accused in the case reported in 1995. So far, the court has acquitted 20 persons in the case, including some local politicians and bureaucrats. The victim had earlier given statements against the alleged assailants, however, during the trial she could not identify anyone of them.
Special public prosecutor C P Udayabhanu said the victim could not recognize any of the accused during the trial. The delayed trial had denied justice to the victim.
He said the case was registered in 1996 and the prosecution proceedings began in 1997. However, the accused kept moving to the higher courts, which delayed the proceedings.
Last year, when the trial began in the special court, the woman had urged to club together all 15 cases to minimize the ordeal of facing her assaulters and questions of the respondents’ counsel. The police had split the Vithura case into 23 separate cases.
In the remaining seven cases, many of the alleged accused are still absconding.
The Home Ministry had sent a panel of three senior IAS officers to pick from and Negi's name is not in the list.
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