Four Yrs after Sexual Assault Victims Retract Ordeal against Headmaster, Spl Prosecutor's Role under Lens

CNN-News18

Chennai: Police officers in Tamil Nadu’s Sivagangai town are collecting evidence to examine the role of a government prosecutor in six girls retracting their statements against a school headmaster in a case of sexual assault.

The accused, Murugan, was arrested about five years ago after receiving complaints of sexual assault from schoolgirls of Panchayat Union Primary School where he was the headmaster. According to the complaints, Murugan had sexually assaulted six minors in the school.

“We are in the process of collecting evidence against Special Public Prosecutor Indira Gandhi. We have all the clarifications required, but as the case is against a lawyer, we are taking additional precautions,” said a senior police officer.

A twist came in the case after the girls, who were key witnesses, turned hostile in court during a hearing in 2016.

About four years later, police sources say they are looking at the final stages of trial in the case when they came to know that initial statements given by the victims and their court statements were different.

"We spoke to all the six girls and found out that Murugan and the public prosecutor coerced them to give wrong statements in court. The duo colluded in the case," a top police officer said.

Following this, three of the six victims filed a complaint with a women’s police station. In the complaint, one of the victims said, "I was threatened by not just the headmaster, but also the government lawyer. I was threatened repeatedly and I was too scared to narrate my ordeal..."

The case has been reopened and the role of the SPP is now being scrutinised. Efforts to contact the public prosecutor have been in vain. This copy will be updated if and when she responds.