The Pollachi sexual assault case that came to light in February shocked the entire state of Tamil Nadu. CBI has filed its first chargesheet in the case and it has been filed against the five accused namely Sabrirajanth aka Risvanth, K Thirunavukkarasu, M Sathish, T Vasanth Kumar and R Manni aka Mani Vanan. The chargesheet has been filed in Coimbatore and includes sections 354(A) (sexual harassment), 354 (B) (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) of the IPC and 66(E) (Punishment for violation of privacy) of Information Technology Act, 2000 and section 4 (Penalty for harassment of woman) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women’s Harassment Act. An offence of robbery that is punishable up to 10 years and IPC Section 376 (Rape) has also been added by the police.

Two cases registered in April

When CBI was notified by the centre and the state, it filed two cases in April and the charge sheet has been filed in less than a month’s time. The first FIR was registered in Coimbatore district on February 12 and was based on sexual harassment and snatching of a gold chain. The second FIR was registered on February 26 and was based on the assault of survivor’s brother that took place near the town.

How the racket came to light

More than 100 women have been lured separately then disrobed by a gang of four men named Sabarirajan, Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish and Vasanthkumar. They recorded explicit videos of the women which were then used to threaten their victims. The fifth accused, named Mani was arrested just a few days ago in May and was sent to a 20-day judicial custody.

The matter came to light when Sabariraj called a college girl named Divya (name changed) to discuss something and he went on to record an explicit video with her. When Divya’s brother beat up Sabariraj, he found on his cell phone videos of other women too. This unveiled a big sex racket. The matter was reported to the police and the cell phones were handed over by Divya’s family. Three of the accused were arrested on February 24 and Thirunavukkarasu was detained on March 5. Police is also investigating if the suicide of women in Pollachi over last one year was somehow related to these four men. They have also requested other survivors to come forward and report the case.

One of the accused, Sabarirajan alias Riswandh is a 25-year-old civil engineer in Pollachi, while Thirunavukkarasu is a 26-year-old financier. Sathish is the owner of a readymade garments shop in Pollachi and Vasanthakumar works for Thirunavukkarasu as money collector from his clients. All the accused are close friends. Among the victims were students and teachers from schools and colleges too. The men found their victims on Facebook and after befriending them, they would force them to meet. Then they harassed them in moving vehicles or some desolate place and recorded the acts and then blackmailed them.

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