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Vandiperiyar rape-murder: Kerala govt appeals HC against accused’s acquittal

Vandiperiyar rape-murder: Kerala govt appeals HC against accused’s acquittal

Kochi: The state government's appeal against Arjun's acquittal in the case involving the rape and murder of a minor in Vandiperiyar was admitted by the Kerala High Court on Thursday, January 4. On December 14, a special fast-track POCSO court in Kattapana cleared the 23-year-old youth, who was the only person accused in the case of sexual assault and the murder of a six-year-old. After concluding that the prosecution's case was weak, the court ruled him not guilty. It also criticised the investigating officer for grave shortcomings in the inquiry, including failing to obtain fingerprints, failing to gather vital evidence for days, and leaving it open to tampering, the News Minute reported.

The plea was accepted by a division bench of justices PB Suresh Kumar and Johnson John, who also sent Arjun a notice. The lower court "failed to appreciate the evidence produced by the prosecution in its correct perspective," according to the state government's appeal. Additionally, the government argued that the procedures involved in amending the First Information Report (FIR) were the reason for the probe's delays rather than any lapses.

The child who passed away resided in the Idukki district with her parents who were labourers. She was alone at her home when her brother returned at about three o'clock that fateful day, and he found her body. After the child's body was taken to the Idukki Medical College for an autopsy, it was discovered that she had been assaulted sexually and strangled. On July 6, 2021, Arjun, a 21-year-old leader of the local Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), was taken into custody by the police.

The POCSO court noted in its ruling that the prosecution had not established all the circumstances consistent with the accused's guilt or inconsistent with his innocence and that it had solely relied on circumstantial evidence to prove the accused's guilt in the case.

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TAGS:Kerala HCPOSCO caseVandiperiyar murder
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