Palakkad court gives nod for reinvestigation into Walayar case

Gown and gavel

A court in Palakkad on Saturday gave permission to the Kerala police to conduct a reinvestigation into the unnatural death of two Dalit minor sisters at Walayar.

The court dealing with POCSO cases issued the order on a plea submitted by the special investigation team (SIT) led by Railway SP R Nishanthini.

Meanwhile, the action council which has been seeking justice to the victims, has demanded that the CBI conduct the reinvestigation. The parents of the girls had also demanded a re-probe.

The SIT, in its plea, had informed the court that the police had to collect more scientific evidence in the case.

The prosecution had failed to prove the charges against three accused V Madhu, M Madhu and Shibu.

The Kerala High Court on January 6 quashed the POCSO special court's order acquitting the accused. The elder sister was found dead on January 13, 2017 and the younger girl on March 4, 2017. The prosecution's case is that the two Dalit sisters, aged 13 and nine, had allegedly committed suicide after the sexual assault by the accused.

The division bench judgment was pronounced following a petition filed by the girls' mother and the Kerala government. The mother of the two girls pointed out lapses in the police investigation and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter. The Kerala government, too, admitted lapses in the police investigation and called for a retrial.

In October 2019, the Special POCSO Court in Palakkad had acquitted the accused in the case, citing lack of evidence leading to outrage among civil society.

In a scathing attack on the Kerala police, the division bench of the High Court had ordered an immediate retrial in the case and if necessary a reinvestigation.

The court had ordered accused K. Madhu, V. Madhu and Shiju to appear before the trial court on January 21. The division bench also said the POCSO case judges must be imparted more training on the social impact of such cases and should be more careful in pronouncing a judgment acquitting the culprits.

The High Court also directed the prosecution to either cancel the bail of the accused or to conduct the trial or reinvestigation, keeping the accused out on bail.

The High Court observed that the trial court did not take into account Section 29 of the POCSO Act.

However, M Mansar, who has been heading the civil society movement "Justice for Walayar Children", had said a retrial in the matter is unacceptable and they want a fool-proof reinvestigation in the case.

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