The mother of the 10-year-old girl, who was allegedly sexually molested by a businessman in a cinema theatre in Kerala’s Malappuram district, has been arrested and a case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered against her, said police officials.
She was arrested on Sunday for not reporting the matter to the police, official said, while adding that the 60-year-old businessman Moideenkutty, who allegedly sexually molested the minor, has been booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and the POCSO Act.
Although the woman claimed she was not aware of the abuse, the police said she took her daughter to the theatre with the intention of exposing her to the abuse.
As per media reports, the mother and the her daughter knew Moideenkutty and were reportedly occupying one of his accommodations.
On Sunday, the police had arrested Moideenkutty, after a Malayalam television channel aired CCTV visuals of the accused sexually abusing the child inside the theatre at Edapal on April 18.
The girl’s mother was sitting beside the businessman when the molestation took place. The theatre owner checked the CCTV visuals after one of the viewers alerted him about the incident and handed over the visuals through an NGO, Childline, to police on April 28.
However, no action was taken until Saturday and police swung into action when media exposed the incident.
The state police has received severe criticism for their inaction and delay in nabbing the accused, even when the theatre authorities had provided the police with CCTV footage of the incident.
A Sub-Inspector, KG Baby, has been suspended for the delay in registering an FIR in the case. While, the minor girl has been shifted to a Nirbhaya kendra, a children’s home.
Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said it was a ‘serious lapse’ on the part of police for failing to act soon after hearing about the abuse.
DGP Loknath Behara said stringent action would be taken against the accused in the case.
On Saturday, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had demanded action against the ‘erring’ police personnel.