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Kerala HC directs appointment of new officer to monitor investigation in Palathayi child abuse case

ANI | Updated: Oct 20, 2020 22:19 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 20 (ANI): Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the state police chief to appoint a new officer, not below the rank of an Inspector General of Police, to monitor further investigation in the Palathayi child abuse case.
The new officer should be appointed after removing IG Sreejith who is presently supervising the case, a bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan said.
Court also directed to reconstitute the Special Investigation Team (SIT) after removing the present members. The court directed the state police chief to issue the order appointing new officers within two weeks.
The court issued the order while disposing of a petition filed by the mother of the Palathayi child abuse case victim, seeking to reconstitute the SIT probing the case by appointing a new officer not below the rank of IG of police to conduct a proper investigation. The police have not made any breakthrough in the case involving the alleged abuse of a Class IV student of a school in Palathayi in Kannur nearly seven months after it first came to light.

The state government submitted that if the mother of the victim feels that the presence of IG Sreejith is not necessary for the probe, the state has no objection in keeping him out of the Special Investigation Team. The state will only protect the interest of the victim and her family, govt submitted.
Expressing distrust in the investigation, the mother said her minor daughter will not get justice from the present investigation team led by Inspector General of Police S Sreejith. Though six months have passed since the team launched the investigation, there was no headway in the case. The delay in completing the investigation was deliberate and aimed at providing undue advantage to the accused, she said, adding that it goes against the POCSO Act which provides for expeditious investigation and trial.
The investigation team did not make any effort to rectify the anomalies and lapses pointed out by the public prosecutor. The victim has been subjected to mental torture and harassment many times by the counselors and police officers, she said in the petition.
The investigation team did not record the statement of the child by audio-video electronic means as specified under Section 26(4) of the Act and was manipulating statements in the name of the victim, she said. The petitioner also sought to restrain the SIT from submitting the final report before a POCSO court in Kasaragod.
K Padmarajan, a school teacher and local BJP leader, is the accused in the case. According to the complainant, the accused sexually abused the girl, studying in Class IV, when she went to the washroom of the school. (ANI)