CHENNAI: A year after a four-year-old girl died of injuries, an advocate, who had adopted the child just a month before her death, was arrested on the charge of murder on Thursday.
Police said they arrested advocate X Gerald, 46, as the autopsy report showed several injury marks on the child’s body.
Apparently the advocate was giving her “shock treatment” by beating and threatening the child to cure the stammer she was suffering from.
The police explained the delay in making the arrest since they were waiting for “proper evidences”, though the autopsy report was said to be submitted just a month after the girl’s death.
“There were scale marks on the body and severe head injures,” said C S Muthalagu, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Egmore).
He said the advocate was depressed that the child was not responding to the speech therapy and kicked the child and hit her with a scale several times.
The autopsy report had said the girl suffered injuries in lungs and spleen, which the police believe had resulted from someone kicking the child.
Gerald and his wife K Sangeetha, a government law college professor, had adopted three-year-old Mridula from Kamarajar Home in Madurai in June 2016. “Exactly a month later, on July 7, the girl was admitted to a private hospital in Nungambakkam claiming she had fallen in the bathroom and sustained head injuries. She was later shifted to the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children in Egmore where she died while undergoing treatment,” said an investigation officer.
The then investigation officer filed a case of suspicious death under Section 174 of CrPc. A medical report dated August 5, 2016, said that the child had suffered several injuries all over the body, including her head.
However, the officer attributed the delay in the arrest to the lack of evidence. “We were waiting for proper evidence and conducted detailed inquires from the locals to conclude it was a murder,” a senior officer said.
Meanwhile, the investigation officer was transferred. “On Thursday, the law and order inspector probed the case further and found it to be a murder case and conducted inquires with the family members,” said the officer.
During investigations it was found that the couple was aware that the child had speech disorder, but they adopted the girl. “However, the couple tried to give shock treatment to the girl by physically abusing her and threatening her with the knife. As the girl did not respond, the advocate tried to smother her to death with a pillow,” the officer, who had questioned Gerald, said.
At the time of crime, police said Gerald was alone at home, while his wife Sangeetha had gone to Madipakkam to meet her mother.
A case has been registered and the police produced Gerald in a magistrate court at Egmore, which remanded him in judicial custody. Police said they are still investigating if Sangeetha was also involved in the killing.