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The Madras High Court was recently coerced to order a de-novo (fresh trial) accompanied with the arrangement of a prosecution witness as the main accused. In a case involving the kidnapping and sexual assault of a child. The Court found that the witness appeared have framed a false narrative story which in due course resulted in the conviction of an innocent man.
The minor victim who was six when abducted in the year 2008 was found bleeding out of her face and private parts. A case was registered against a coolie named Iyyappan, whom the trial court eventually convicted for the crime. So far the parents of the victims were concerned, repeatedly claimed that lyyappan was not the accused and only person responsible for the crime was the landlord, Kaatu Raja, under whom lyyappan worked.
After Kaatu Raja informed the police, lyyappan came under the scrutiny with the fact that he was the only unmarried man in the area. Further, it was Kaatu Raja’s minor daughter who testified against Iyyappan stating that the latter suffered paedophilic inclinations and had asked for sexual favours from her previously. In addition to this, the police found a DNA match between blood stains found on his clothes and the minor victim’s clothes.
Blindly going no allegations were made on Kaatu Raja even after an investigation by police. To counter this Iyyappan challenged his conviction before the Bench of Justices S Vimala and S Ramathilagam, as having been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Mahila Court on May 8 for reportedly raping a six-year-old girl within Kumaran Nagar police station limits in 2008. The Bench noted that allegations made by Kaatu Raja’s daughter of having suffered sexual abuse herself by Iyyappan were not treated with due seriousness as they were based on false charges and fabricated evidence. Kaatu Raja was found to have been turned into a drama director by coercing his teenage daughter to accuse the appellant of misbehaving with her with a malafide intention to establish that his employee was indeed a pervert with a history of harassing women and children.
The High Court observed that preferably, additional charges ought to have been filed. However, no such steps were taken in the case in hand. Therefore, the Court concluded that the same was only used to lend credence to an otherwise flimsy case against Iyyappan. After getting analysis on the scenario clear, the court acquitted lyyappan from all the charges and made the observation that
“… in all probability, the evidence of Kaatu Raja’s daughter] might have been let in only to give a colour of seriousness and truth [to charges pressed against Iyyappan and not sensibility normally expected of, in such circumstances.”
Further, the court ordered a fresh trial in the case with Kaatu Raja as the accused. The Bench remarked,
“When the child has stated once before the Doctor, once before the Police and once before the Court (during 164) that it is only PW 8-Kaatu Raja, who is the culprit, what is the difficulty for the Court to proceed against PW 8-Kaatu Raja is a mystery to be found out.”
Also, the Court has directed that the fresh trial should be completed within three months from the date of the order, i.e. by December 12.

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