The Kerala High Court, on Friday, directed the CBI to submit in a sealed cover report on the status of its ongoing investigation into the 2017 rape and murder case of two minor Dalit sisters at Walayar in Palakkad.
A single bench of Justice K Babu passed the direction while considering a plea moved by the mother of the minor victims seeking monitoring of the probe. In her petition, the mother alleged that the CBI has been ignoring material evidence in the case that points towards homicide, not suicide.
She pointed out that the trial court had also observed that there was callous indifference and negligence on the part of the CBI in conducting the investigation. Further, it was alleged that the CBI is trying to submit the final report in haste without properly and efficiently conducting the investigation.
“The deceased girls belong to the Scheduled Cast and Scheduled Tribe community, a marginalised section of society. They are helpless to find out the truth behind the incident. Therefore, the interference of this Hon’ble Court is the sine qua non for doing complete justice,” reads the petition.
The petitioner, therefore, urged the court to monitor the CBI investigation and to direct the probe agency to look into the homicide angle in the mysterious death of two accused in the case, and the involvement of child pornography mafia in the death of the victims.
The two victims, girls aged 13 and nine, were found hanging inside their one-room home 52 days apart and post-mortem examinations had confirmed that the minors were subjected to sexual assault before their deaths.
Protests and public pressure led to the arrest of five accused in the case – Madhu alias Valiya Madhu, Madhu M alias Kutti MadhuShibu, Pradeep Kumar M, and a minor, who was 16-year-old at the time of allegedly committing the crime. The fourth accused, Pradeep Kumar, died allegedly by committing suicide in November 2020.
On October 25, 2019, a special POCSO court in the Palakkad district acquitted three persons in connection with the rape of two minor Dalit sisters in Walayar. This led to public outcry, protests, and several allegations, especially from Opposition parties, against the CPI-M-led LDF government which was accused of shielding the accused
In January 2021, a division bench of the Kerala High Court quashed the acquittal of all the accused and directed a re-trial of all the cases.
Later, in consideration of the state government’s recommendation for a probe by the CBI, the court ordered the Central agency to take up the investigation.