Re-open all Pollachi women suicide cases: Kanimozhi

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi on Tuesday demanded reinvestigation into all suicides by women in Pollachi town of Tamil Nadu over the past seven years following arrest of four persons in the serial sexual assault and blackmail case.

She was addressing a protest rally, organised by her party in Pollachi town of the Coimbatore district, against police inaction in the case.

The police had denied permission for the rally, which was attended by members of the DMK as well as its allies the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).

Kanimozhi was taken into custody after her speech and released later.

Speaking at the rally, Kanimozhi said, "Many women were blackmailed. The crime has been going on for the past seven years. There would be a bigger network of criminals, not just the four arrested persons."

She demanded that all suicide deaths in Pollachi over the past seven years should be probed again.

She said it was only after DMK President M.K. Stalin spoke about the AIADMK shielding its partymen allegedly involved in the case and the issue got politicised that the state's ruling party acted against its official A. Nagaraj, for assaulting a victim's brother.

According to Kanimozhi, after arresting the four accused the police had stated there were about 40 videos in their mobile phones. Later they said only four videos had been found, she added.

The mobile phones confiscated from them have been sent for analysis, a police official told IANS on Tuesday.

The Coimbatore (Rural) Police believe there could be around 15 people involved in the sex blackmail racket.

According to the police, the accused would befriend women on the social media and then sexually assault and videograph them. The victims were later blackmailed for money or for physical submission. The victims include college students, home makers and working women.

Deputy Speaker of the Assembly V. Jayaraman said opposition parties were trying to tarnish his name by linking his family members to the racket.

Tamil Nadu police on Tuesday transferred the case to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID).

Coimbatore District Collector K. Rajamani also passed orders to detain the four arrested in the case -- Thirunavukkarasu, Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar and Satish -- under the Goondas Act.

Interestingly, whil in hiding Thirunavukkarasu had released a video alleging that some politicians were also involved in the case and sought its transfer to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan has also submitted a memorandum to Director General of Police (DGP) T.K. Rajendran seeking proper action in the case.