CHENNAI: Nearly eighteen months after two class XI girls went missing, it was found, much to the shock of their parents and relatives, that the girls were living with a 30-year-old married man, who is now behind bars for sexually abusing the minors.
Police said the girls were cousins of the man’s wife. He had married her five years ago after courting her. The couple has a 4-year-old child.
Even as the girls’ parents and kin were hunting for the missing girls, M Gopi, working as a welder, had secretly rented a house in a remote village in Tiruvallur district and was living with the two girls. Gopi’s wife told police that she came to know about it only a few months ago, but kept silent after her protesting initially. “All these months, the girls hardly went out of the house. He had married one of the two girls in a temple, but was having sex with both all along,” said Saraswathi, inspector, All Women Police Station (Tiruvallur), adding that it was an offence to have intercourse with a minor girl, even with her consent.
The sequence of events dates back to September 2013 when a 16-year-old girl studying in class XI of a government school went missing. While her parents lodged a complaint with Sevvapet police and were looking for her, three months later, in Jaunary 2014, another relative, a 17-year-old girl and a class XI student, went missing. The two girls vanishing into thin air remained a mystery and police complaints did not help.
“The accused managed to dodge the police radar by not allowing the girls to step out of the house. The girls also began feeling disgruntled after sometime. But fearing how their parents would react if they went back, they continued to stay in the house. One of the girls said, while she went willingly with him, he had forced sex on her at times,” said the police officer.
Gopi’s wife told police that she came to know about his activities only a few months ago. She had questioned him, but said she was “convinced” later by her husband.
The presence of the two girls with the accused came to light only when his parents visited his house. “They scolded their son for doing this. They immediately informed the girls’ parents. Based on a complaint, we booked him on charges of abducting minor girls and having forced sex with them,” said the inspector.
Gopi has been remanded for 15 days judicial custody.