CHENNAI: Investigating a Class 8 girl’s suicide in the city, police said they found she had been raped and blackmailed by a 33-year-old man who befriended her. Three months after the police first registered a case of unnatural death, the man was arrested on Wednesday.
It was a private photo of the 13-year-old girl that her mother received on the phone just before her suicide that led police to investigate. Police said they found that the girl used to spend time with a man named Gunaseelan who used to take her to tuitions. He was also a tenant of the house owned by the girl's parents and hence known to the family.
When summoned by police, Gunaseelan is said to have deleted the contents of his phone and handed it to the police.
A senior police officer in the city under whose jurisdiction the case was being investigated sought technical assistance and found that Gunaseelan had taken private photos of the girl and also had pictures and videos of other minor girls downloaded from the internet.
“Realising that he would be caught, Gunaseelan fled the city after handing over the mobile phone. Recently a special police team identified his hideout near Coimbatore and arrested him,” said a police officer.
Quoting Gunaseelan’s confession statement, police said that he used to threaten the girl with the pictures and videos he had taken when they were together and ask for sexual favours.
“When the girl wanted to open up with her mother, Gunaseelan would threaten to post images online. On June 14, Gunaseelan had sent a message to the girl’s mother from an anonymous mobile number portraying the girl in bad light. Soon after the message, the girl had killed herself,” said the officer.
After the girl died, the man had shifted his house to another part of the city.
Gunaseelan was arrested on charges of IPC Section 306 (abetment to suicide), IT Act section 65 (whoever intentionally destroys the computer source code kept for investigation) and sections implying rape and sexual assault under POSCO Act. He was remanded in judicial custody on Wednesday.
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 02225521111, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.)