CUDDALORE: The Cuddalore District Mahila Court on Monday sentenced church priest to 30 years in prison and nine others to life in prison for their roles in the horrifying 2014 Tittakudi rape case, involving two minor girls from the district and trafficking gangs from across Tamil Nadu.
On Friday, the court had found 16 of the accused guilty of various charges such as abduction and under provisions of the POCSO Act. One of the 17 accused had been acquitted. Mahila Court Judge T Lingeshwaran sentenced the church priest Aruldoss, who sexually assaulted the children, to a jail term of 30 years and fine of Rs 5 lakh. Anbazhagan, the gang's kingpin from Salem was sentenced to life in prison and a fine of Rs 3.21 lakh, while Anandaraj was sentenced to four life terms in prison and a fine of Rs 2.1 lakh. Selvaraj, another accused, was sentenced to three life terms and fine of Rs 30,000. Mohan Raj and Mathivanan both were sentenced to two life terms each and fines of Rs 2 lakh.
Fathima was also sentenced to two life terms with a fine of Rs 4.4 lakh. Sridhar, the driver who took the children to different places in the state, was sentenced to two life terms and fine of Rs 4.4 lakh. Kala and Lakshmi were awarded two life terms and a fine of Rs 4.2lakh
Giving the background to the case, Special Public Prosecutor K Selvapriya, said victim 1, aged 13 at the time, was studying in school at Tittakudi. A woman who ran an idly shop befriended her and, during Pongal in 2014, coerced her into sexual intercourse with her husband and other men.
The child was later told she would be let off if she brought another child to them. The child brought victim 2, a 14-year-old girl from her neighbourhood, to the woman. Both girls were sexually assaulted by the men. In the months that followed, they were trafficked to various places in the State including Salem, Panruti, Vadalur, Virudachalam and Ulundurpet and were sexually assaulted by several men.
The police investigation found that the two children had been forced to watch pornography and had been sexually assaulted by the church priest Aruldoss while being held by the Tittakudi gang.
The father of one of the girls filed a missing complaint with Tittakudi police in July 2014. Meanwhile, the children managed to escape and reached Tittakudi where they told the police what had happened, identifying 19 accused, including the idly shop owner Tamilarasi and her husband Satheesh. Seventeen people were arrested in connection with the case but Tamilarasi and Satheesh have been absconding.