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18 Sep 2019, Edition - 1527, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

CBI’s delay in taking over the Pollachi case may result in tampering of the digital and forensic evidence: experts

Ramya Nallathambi

The delay of the CBI in taking over the Pollachi sexual abuse and rape case that has allegedly  victimised several hundreds of girls in and around Pollachi will result in the destruction of forensic and digital evidence.

The horrific case where several girls were lured over the social media platforms and subjected to sexual harassment and rape has shook the collective conscience of the nation. The accused had allegedly taken videos of the sexual act of several women and had blackmailed them to extortion. The case was handed over to CBCID on March 12 after the police was accused of mishandling the case and revealing the identity of the victim.

Following several protests that broke out across the State demanding speedy and a fair trial , the state government had recommended that the case be taken over by the CBI. But even after five days the CBI is yet to take up the sensational case that has triggered an emotional upheaval across the nation.

While there have been instances in the recent past where cases involving a single victim or a family has been taken up by the CBI, the delay in Central Bureau of Investigations taking up something as serious as this is disturbing. The CBI is yet to get orders from the Department of Personnel and Training which comes directly under the PMO, a senior police official from Chennai told The Covai Post.

It is very important to hand over the case to CBI at the earliest because the chances of tampering with the Digital and forensic evidence is high, said Cyber expert A Soundarrajan. Though the evidence cannot be  deleted or modified completely, it is important that the evidences procured from the crime scene including memory cards, pen drives , laptops, hard disk and external storage devices are sealed before handing over.

Dr Kannaki Uttararaj, the Managing Trustee of Thamarai Trust told The Covai Post the delay would result in threatening or counselling of the victims against lodging a complaint. It is very difficult for the victims to come out and speak about it going by the stigma attached and the fact that the CBCID helpline has received several complaints on this case is encouraging.

“It is extremely disturbing to hear the news going around that the videos taken by these accused have been sold to pornographic sites indicating the involvement of perhaps a bigger mafia. The people of Pollachi have appealed to the CBI to depute Asra Garg IPS as the investigating officer through the change.org petitions and other platforms. The officer who had been dealing with anti social elements with an iron fist while he was posted as SP in Madurai and Tirunelveli will ideally be the best to handle this case”, she added.

The delay in the CBI taking over only gives rise to suspicion that there could be more than what meets the eye, said Dr R Mahendran, Vice President of Dr Kamal Hassan’s party, Makkal Needhi Mayyam. “Me and Dr Kamal Hassan had met the DGP of Tamil Nadu TK Rajendran and requested that the case be taken over by the CBI so that the investigation is impartial and it was  recommended by the government the next day. But it’s been a while since and the delay in taking up something as big and as atrocious as this is something that’s not adding up”, he exclaimed.

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