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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 25 May 2024 11.32 PM IST

Vandiperiyar rape-murder case: Dismissal is the only deserving punishment

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Kattappana fast track POCSO court acquitting the accused in the absence of evidence in the case of the brutal murder of a six-year-old girl in Idukki's Vandiperiyar, where she was raped, killed and hung was like adding flame to the pain of the unhealed wound in Kerala's mind. The court had pointed out at that time that the prosecution had completely failed to collect scientific evidence and conduct the investigation without loopholes for the atrocity without eyewitnesses. The court had found the then-investigating officer, Circle Inspector TD Sunilkumar, to have seriously failed in the investigation of the case. Instead of dismissing him from the service after the court verdict, the government's action of only suspending him cannot be called just a cruel joke against the conscience of the society but should be called a crime itself.

The court upheld the finding that rape had taken place and that the death was a homicide. At the same time, it can be assumed that the investigating officer made a deliberate mistake in not collecting the evidence required to prove the crimes charged against the accused and not bringing it to the court. It is clear that the police made efforts to save the accused from the day the incident took place. It was only the next day that he reached the scene of the incident. Initially, the case was for unnatural death. It is a heinous and atrocious crime by the CI to have delayed the collection of evidence from the crime scene and closed down the possibility of such evidence, yielding to pressures believed to have come from higher-ups due to the political influence of the accused.

It was the police officer who had to gather all possible evidence against the accused to ensure justice for the victims, especially for the baby girl, who was ripped by the claws of a vile man's thirst for lust, who shamelessly ventured to protect him. The government, which should have dismissed him as a criminal from the police force and set an example and sent a strong message to the force, hesitated and finally gave him a light sentence for the sake of it. That too, after the opposition demanded strict action against the investigating officer in the assembly last day.

Earlier, the Chief Minister had said that police officers who are involved in crimes or commit serious indiscipline will be dismissed from service. There were a couple of convictions in that way in the Home Department. However, the government did not have this sense of justice in the case of cruelty to the girl child in Vandiperiyar. Even though the government is going to appeal against the acquittal of the accused, what is the use of it in this case where the evidence is weak?

An attempt to conceal the criminal is an accessory to the crime. The pain of the conscientious people will be relieved at least a little only if that police officer who does not deserve pardon is dismissed from service and further investigation is announced as soon as possible under the leadership of a righteous officer in the Vandiperiyar case. Yesterday the Home Department had suspended the two judicial officers who caused the suicide of Aneesya, who was an APP in Paravoor Munsiff Court, Kollam. When there are such worms in the Judiciary itself, there is no need to mention the situation of other departments where there is more political influence. Any punishment short of dismissal would be beneficial in their case as well. Removal from service is what is needed in such cases, not warnings in the form of suspension.

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