KARAIKUDI:Nearly three months after police rescued two adolescent girls allegedly from flesh trade in the heritage town and arrested a woman and her daughter on charges of forcing them into prostitution, another development has emerged in the case.
It has come to be known that a revenue inspector in the Karaikudi Municipality and two other local traders have had a hand in the offence. The trio, it is learnt, have been regular ‘customers’ to the brothel run by the mother-daughter duo where they abused these girls.
Based on the in-camera confession made by the girls to the judge on the men who sexually abused them, Karaikudi All-woman police on Sunday arrested S Balakrishnan (44) of Ariyakudi, who is working as an RI, C Selvam alias Selvaraj (40) and A Palaniappan (43) who run shops in the town.
The shocking case came to light on August 30 when a girl made good her escape from a house and hurried to the Karaikudi All-woman Police Station for help. She cried to the police that she, aged 15, and her 14-year-old sister were held captive by one S Poomayil (58), a widow, and her daughter T Swarnalatha (33), who is separated from her husband, in their residence in the town. They were pushed into commercial sex trade for a month then.
While the girls were rescued from the house and sent to the Government Hospital for treatment, the mother-daughter duo were arrested on charges of trafficking and buying minors for prostitution under IPC, abetment under POCSO Act and termination of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
As investigations pointed to an even more shocking allegation that they were sold off by their own mother, who however claimed that she had let her kids to work as domestic helps in the house, she was also taken into custody.
According to police, inquiries revealed that the girls were sold reportedly for a price of `10,000 each by their own mother, who after her second marriage wanted to ‘dispose’ the kids. She sent them to S Ponnumani (37), who in turn had sold them to Poomayil and her daughter. The children were born out of her wedlock with one Rajagopal, but the couple parted ways later, police said. Ponnumani was also arrested.
The police have received the list of 15 persons including abusers and pimps named by the victims to the judge and are acting on it. Thus far, they have arrested seven and more arrests may be effected, police said.