In a strong message to sex offenders, especially those targeting children, a special court for Pocso cases sentenced four men to life in prison, with no scope for remission, in the Ayanavaram child rape case.
Judge RN Manjula on Monday sentenced five of them to life imprisonment and the remaining 10 to undergo imprisonment for five years.
R Ravikumar (56), M Suresh (32), N Abhishek (23) and N Palani (40) have been sentenced to undergo imprisonment until death while A Rajasekaran (40) has been sentenced to life with entitlement to be released prematurely on his application.
On Saturday, the court had convicted 15 persons for sexually assaulting a minor girl in Ayanavaram in the city. The incident surfaced in July 2018 when 16 persons were arrested for raping an 11-year-old for over a period of seven months. Of the total 16 accused, one was acquitted.
In July 2018, the all-woman police in Ayanavaram had arrested 16 persons for the sexual assault of a hearing-impaired girl. Following the arrest, Ravikumar (56), Suresh (32), Rajasekar (40), Sugumaran (65) and 11 others were arrested and lodged in the Puzhal Central Prison.
Counsel for the accused told reporters that he would file an appeal in the Madras High Court. Police submitted 70 pieces of evidence in the case and charged the accused under sections 354-B (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 366 (kidnapping), 376-AB, 376-DB, 506 (i) and 506(ii) of the IPC and sec 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act.
The rape perpetrated by lift operators, electricians and plumbers of the residential apartment complex where the child lived came to light on July 13, 2018, only when her parents approached the Ayanavaram all-women police. Based on the complaint, police arrested 17 men on the charge of sexually assaulting the victim for more than seven months.