ALAPPUZHA: The special investigation team probing the minor rape case here arrested one more person on Friday. The accused Nidhin, 22, of Punnapra was booked under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and remanded in judicial custody. Earlier on Tuesday, five people, including two policemen, were arrested for raping the 16-year-old girl from Alappuzha for over nine months. Among the arrested were Athira alias Glory, 24, the key accused and the girl’s relative, K.G. Laiju, 38, a sub-inspector on probation at Mararikulam police station, Nelson Thomas, 40, civil police officer attached to the narcotics cell, Jinumon, 22, and Prince, 28. All are in judicial custody now. Both the police officers have been suspended from service.
Nidhin was arrested on the basis of the statement given by the victim and Athira.
Mr P.V. Baby. DySP, Alappuzha, who leads the investigation, said that the probe was extended to all angles following the alleged involvement of high-ranking police officials in the case. “The man who introduced himself to the girl as Dy.SP was the driver. He did not abuse the girl. So there is no need to arrest him,” he said.
Mr Jose Chellappan, a councillor of Alappuzha municipality, alleged that the investigation team was trying to sabotage the case to save the top officials. “The girl had revealed the names of a circle inspector and Dy.SP. The police must investigate whether Athira had used other children for flesh trade,” he said. Athira used to take the victim, a school drop-out, during her trips to various places after gaining the confidence of her parents. She presented the minor to several men and accepted money in return, it is alleged. A woman police officer said the parents were not aware of the plight of the minor as they did not suspect anything wrong since the woman was a close relative of the girl. The girl’s father is disabled and mother is mentally ill, said the police. The girl has been shifted to a rescue home.