Outrage after CCTV footage catches 60-year-old man sexually abusing child and her mother in movie theater
The 10-year-old girl is now under the custody of charity service Childline at a Nirbhaya home in south India.
A businessman from India was recorded sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl in a cinema with the active connivance of the minor’s mother. He has now been arrested. 60-year-old Mankunnath Moideen Kutty engaged in sexual acts with both the girl and her mother and every second of the disgusting abuse was captured by a CCTV camera, reported the Times of India.
Despite the abuse taking place on April 18, the businessman from Kerala was arrested only on Saturday. Moideen Kutty was charged under sections 9 and 10 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) act, that could at best slap a maximum jail sentence of only seven years against the accused.
A charity called Childline was given the tape by the theater's owner, which then handed the said footage to law enforcement authorities on April 26. According to Manorama Online, the man was not detained by the police until a TV channel aired clips of the sexual assault.
However, Moideen Kutty could be subsequently charged with rape of a girl below the age of 12 due to the police probe which indicated previous abuse by the man. If the businessman is charged under those sections of the POSCO Act, he could be facing a life sentence under its recently revised provisions considering there is medical evidence to corroborate those claims.
While the captured footage reveals that the abuse didn't involve vaginal penetration of any kind (absolving the accused of rape), Chairman of child welfare committee (CWC), Malappuram, M Manikandan, said that the committee will demand law enforcement to charge Moideen Kutty of rape section 5 of POCSO Act.
“We expect to get a copy of the victim’s statement on Monday. The CCTV visuals alone are sufficient for police to charge rape case against the accused. If police are not ready to charge a case for aggravated sexual offense, we will ask the investigation officer to add rape charges”, he said.
A harsher punishment on the accused would act as a deterrent, argued legal experts.
“It is learned that visuals provided by Childline show fingering of the child by the accused. As per the 2013 amendment to provisions of Indian Penal Code, insertion of anything into the vagina amounts to rape. Jisha’s case and a Malayalam actress’ case are examples. Invoking section 7 and 8 of POCSO Act (sexual assault) is insufficient. These facts clearly attract the offense of section 376 of Indian Penal Code (rape),” T Asaf Ali, former director general of prosecution, told the Times of India.
"As the ordinance brought in by the central government in April subsists now, it is a case in which capital punishment or life imprisonment has to be imposed,” he added.
Local residents of Eddapal were outraged by the lack of concern and the failure to act sooner. Edappal is a town in the Malappuram region of Kerala in south India. Moideen Kutty has already admitted guilt after the accusation, reported The Hindu.
Reportedly, the businessman owns jewelry shops in the Middle East and in another city in Kerala called Thrissur.
While the little girl's mother is said to have two older daughters, the youngest may have been abused in the past, suspect law enforcement authorities. The mother has been interrogated by the police and a rescue home has taken in the 10-year-old child.
The sub-inspector of police in the area, KJ Baby, has now been suspended from service due to his non-success in responding sooner, according to Gulf News.
The mother of the young girl confessed that Moideen Kutty had molested her daughter with her consent on Sunday. Following a detailed interrogation, the 35-year-old woman from Palakkad was charged under Section 16 of POSCO for abetment, recorded the special investigation team.
On the other hand, the businessman has been charged with sexual assault, as well as the use of criminal force with "the intent to outrage a woman's modesty."
During a conversation with News Minute, Anwar Karakkadan, the district coordinator of Childline said that they informed the police "the very next day" after being handed the footage by the theatre. He continued: "We delayed it by a day to thoroughly check the visuals, considering the severity of the case. It's a three-hour video, the theatre guys found it.
"We had checked the entire footage. He was abusing the mother and child at the same time, that too continuously from the beginning to the end.
"During the movie interval, he stops, goes out and then comes back to resume the sexual assault. After informing the police, we approached them every day to follow up. "We waited till Saturday as we thought that the police should be given time to trace him. Still, they didn't act."
Anwar further stated,“The condition of girl is normal and she actively attended the interaction camp organized at the shelter on Sunday. We will collect detailed statement of the girl only after counseling." In the meanwhile, an anonymous source told the outlet: '[Moideen Kutty's] influence as a rich businessman might have prompted the police not to take [the] case against him.'
DSP Shaji Varghese, who is leading the special investigation team, told media that both accused have confessed to their crime and have been charged under section 7 and 8 of POCSO Act and section 354A of IPC.