The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday arrested three more persons, including an AIADMK member, in connection with the Pollachi sexual assault case that dates back to 2019. The arrested were identified as Arulanantham, 34, Herine Paul, 29, and Babu aka Bike Babu, 27.
Arulanantham is the student’s wing secretary of the AIADMK in Pollachi town. He was sacked from the party minutes after he was arrested. The AIADMK released a statement removing Arulanantham from the primary membership of the party and instructed other members not to have any links with him.
மாண்புமிகு முதல்வர் திரு. எடப்பாடி கே. பழனிசாமி, மாண்புமிகு துணை முதல்வர் திரு. ஓ.பன்னீர்செல்வம் ஆகியோரின் முக்கிய அறிவிப்பு. pic.twitter.com/yiWMqDen7D
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) January 6, 2021
The accused were taken to Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital for medical examination prior to being produced before the Coimbatore Mahila Court for remand.
In March 2019, the CBI took over the investigation from the state’s CB-CID into the alleged sexual abuse of a 19-year-old woman in Pollachi town by a gang of men.
According to the victim who lodged a complaint in February 2019, the gang had picked her up in a car on a state highway and sexually assaulted her. They shot a video of the incident and used it to blackmail her against going to the police. They also demanded money from her.
The case snowballed into a major scandal after local reports claimed that not just one woman but several other college girls, doctors, and school students were victims of an organised racket of sexual abuse, blackmail and extortion. The police said the accused allegedly lured women with fake accounts on social media. After striking a conversation and befriending them, they engaged in sexual activity and filmed the abuse.
Compounding the horror, video clips of the alleged incidents, purportedly filmed by the accused, made their way to social media.
The CBI filed two cases against the accused — the first was for sexual harassment, and the second related to an assault on the victim’s brother.
K Thirunavukkarasu, N Sabarirajan, N Satheesh, T Vasanthakumar and later R Manivannan were arrested by the central agency and are currently lodged in Salem Central Prison.