February 13, 2021 2:46:31 am
TWENTY-FIVE years after a sex racket involving the rape of a minor girl rocked Kerala, a special court in Kottayam on Friday convicted the prime accused and sent him to jail for 10 years.
The court sentenced Shamsudeen Mohammed Shajahan, 52, to 24 years in prison under various provisions of the IPC. But he would effectively undergo jail term for 10 years as the sentences would run concurrently. The court also fined him Rs 1 lakh, which would go to the victim.
The conviction follows the acquittal of other accused in 17 cases related to the infamous Vithura sex racket. There are 23 other cases related to the racket which are pending trial.
According to the prosecution, in 1995, a girl, then aged below 16, was lured to a sex racket by her relative and handed over to Shamsudeen, who was its kingpin. The girl was in the illegal custody of Shamsudeen for nine months, during which she was raped by several people. In July 1996, police busted the racket.
Shamsudeen, who went into hiding, surrendered before the court after 18 years in 2014. He again went into hiding during trial, but police nabbed him.
Special prosecutor Advocate Rajagopal Padipurackal said in all the 23 pending cases, Shamsudeen is the prime accused. “The trial in the pending cases would begin one after another. In some cases, the alleged accused are still absconding.”
The prosecutor said in the previous batch of cases, the victim could not identify the assailants, leading to the acquittal.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines