AG reveals international racket involving sale of actual rape porn
In a shocking revelation made during the trial-at-bar in Jaffna pertaining the gang rape and murder of a schoolgirl, it came to light that the accused parties had attempted to sell footage of the said gang rape for money to a racket raking in millions involving the similar sale of visuals containing the sexual abuse of South Asian females, and had perpetrated the said gang rape for the purpose of selling the footage.
These revelations were made by the prosecution, when the trial-at-bar pertaining to the abduction, gang rape and murder of Vidya, a 17-year-old schoolgirl in Pungudutivu in Jaffna on 2015 May 13 (at around 7.30 a.m.) commenced amidst tight security at the Jaffna High Court on 2017 June 28.
The State also stated that investigations conducted into persons who had attempted to protect the criminals had further revealed an attempted cover up of the probe by way of the offering of a bribe of Rs 20 million.
The case is the first trial-at-bar in Jaffna. The panel of three Judges before whom the case is heard includes B. Sasi Mahendran, M. Ellencheliyan and A. Premashankar. The former is the President of the bench. The trio was appointed by Chief Justice President’s Counsel (PC) Priyasath Dep. The team for the Attorney General’s Department is led by Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera PC, Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) P. Kumararatnam and other counsels.
The Criminal Investigation Department arrested 12 suspects in relation to the case, against nine of whom indictments have been filed. The over 40 counts of charges include plotting, abduction, rape, murder, aiding and abetting, and unlawful assembly amongst other criminal offences. The accused are P. Indrakumar alias Sinnaraja, P. Vijayakumar alias Ravi, P. Thawakkumar alias Sendil, Mahalingam Shashidaran alias Shashi, T. Chandrakanth alias Chandra, Sivadevan Kushanthan alias Periyathambi, P.R. Kuganathan alias Sishanthan, Jayadaran Kokilan alias Karu and Mahalingam Shashikumar alias Swiss Kumar.
The accused have denied the charges levelled against them.
Leading evidence before the Court, lead counsel, de Livera PC had in his submissions stated that the crime had been a premeditated one. The rape had been committed to video the crime and then sell it, de Livera PC stated, adding further that the ninth defendant (born in Sri Lanka and has Swiss citizenship) had been identified as the mastermind of the said crime as he had orchestrated and planned the crime while being in Switzerland with six other respondents who were in Sri Lanka at the time.
Following the rape, the student had had her hands and feet tied and she had subsequently been strangled. Although evidence regarding the sale of the said video to a foreigner has been found, the video itself has not been found.
On the first day, the deceased’s mother also testified. In her evidence, she had stated that on the day the incident took place, when she and her son were walking about looking for her daughter, when they had gone to the Kurikadduwan Police checkpoint, the latter had refused to accept their complaint, after which they had gone to the Kayts Police at about 8 p.m. The Police there had told her that girls her age would go anywhere and that she would come back. It was only when she and her son had stated that she was not such a girl that the Police had recorded the complaint. When they were returning home from the station at 10 p.m., the three-wheel driver of the vehicle in which they had come in had stated that while he generally sees the said schoolgirl at the Aladi Junction at 7.30 a.m. daily, he had not seen her on the particular day. The mother and son had had to abandon the search due to the darkness and rain. The following day, she and her son had commenced the search at 6.30 a.m., and it was then that they found her body. Officers of the Kayts Police had only arrived at the scene at 10 a.m.
The recording of evidence continued on June 29 and 30.
On June 29, a witness for the State, Udayasuriyan Sureshkaran whilst testifying stated that the sixth respondent, Kushanthan aka Periyathambi had given an individual known as Ravi, Rs 23,000 contracting the latter to abduct the girl. The State witness further stated that Periyathambi had been pursuing the girl for three months prior to the incident and that on one occasion (about one and a half months before the rape and murder) he had seen Periyathambi being slapped with a slipper by the girl. Sureshkaran further added that the accused in question had stated that he loved the girl in question. Sureshkaran’s evidence revealed that he and the said accused had on a daily basis followed her in their motorcycle on her way back after school and that although the accused had attempted to engage the girl in conversation she had however not spoken to them. Sureshkaran and Periyathambi had met Ravi when they were drinking and after Ravi had stated that he was willing to help Periyathambi in getting the girl even to the extent of abducting her and bringing her to him, Periyathambi had later taken him up on the said offer. Ravi had suggested that he be paid about Rs 20,000 to Rs 23,000 to fulfill the task and Periyathambi had in turn said that he would pay upon receiving his salary and had later made good on his promise to pay. At this point in the proceedings, when questioned by DSG Kumararatnam about the exact amount that had been paid by Periyathambi to Ravi, the witness had expressed fear that his mother and sister who were alone at home could face issues if he decided to testify further at which point Judge Ellencheliyan said that the Court would be responsible for his safety and that they would order the Kayts Police to provide security protection to him. However, when the witness refused to give further evidence in open Court, after consulting the Attorney General’s Department officers and counsel for the defence, the Court ordered that the public and the media be removed from the Court and the hearing of evidence commenced under wraps.
The hearing and recording of evidence from witnesses continued on June 30.