South Zone IG to investigate Kadakkavoor POCSO case

Conflicting reports on veracity of case prompt the decision

State Police Chief Loknath Behera on Sunday entrusted Inspector General of Police, South Zone, Harshita Attaluri, with investigation into the child abuse case in which the victim’s mother was arrested by the Kadakkavoor police recently.

The 45-year-old woman was arrested under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, following a complaint that she had sexually harassed her 13-year-old son. Allegations of bias and lapses in handling of the case that were levelled against the police have prompted the decision to transfer the case to a senior officer, who will investigate the circumstances that led to the complaint and its veracity.

The case took a curious turn a day ago after the woman’s mother accused her son-in-law of foisting a false case against her daughter. The complaint was purportedly spurred by the man’s animosity towards his wife after she questioned his decision to marry for the second time without divorcing her.

The couple’s younger son also claimed that his brother, the supposed victim in the case, had been threatened by their father to complaint against their mother.

The issue turned murkier on Sunday when Thiruvananthapuram Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson N. Sunanda alleged lapses on the part of the Kadakkavoor police in including her in the First Information Report (FIR), registered on December 18, as the informant in the case. Speaking to mediapersons, she maintained that the CWC had neither provided any information nor directed the police to investigate the complaint.

Terming the purported error a “serious lapse”, Ms. Sunanda said the CWC had arranged counselling by a social worker after the child was produced before the committee. Later, a counselling report was submitted to the Kadakkavoor police.

The revelations prompted local residents to constitute an action council to seek “justice for the mother” and also geared up to launch agitations against the local police. Kerala Women’s Commission member Shahida Kamal held the police responsible for showing undue haste in the case.

The Kadakkavoor police, meanwhile, refuted the CWC chairperson’s comments and stuck to its stance. They claimed that they were in possession of a letter supposedly sent by the CWC that had paved the way for the police proceedings against the accused. They added that a statement given by the victim to a woman magistrate as well as his medical examination formed the basis of their investigation.

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