Vandiperiyar rape-murder: Chilling details of crime emerge, Arjun's drama falls flat

Accused Arjun demonstrates to the police how he escaped through the window after the murder.

Vandiperiyar: Chilling details about the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl at the labourer's quarters in an estate here in Idukki district have emerged with the prompt arrest of the offender, thanks to autopsy findings and subsequent moves of the police.

Arjun (22), an activist of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), was arrested by the police in connection with the crime.

He had been preying upon the girl for the last three years, said the police. He used to entice the child by offering sweets when her parents went out for work and sexually exploited her.

As Arjun lived in the adjacent estate quarters for labourers, he had easy access to the victim, the police stated.

Fateful day
On the day the child was killed, Arjun entered her room noticing that she was alone. Incidentally, some of his friends were engaged in cutting hair for some children, including the victim’s brother, near the quarters at that time. However, they were not aware of Arjun’s presence.

In the room, Arjun raped the child and she lost consciousness, said a police officer. Believing that the girl had died, Arjun hung her from a rope he located in the room. While he was hanging her, the child opened its eyes and Arjun ensured that she was dead.

Subsequently, he locked the room from inside and jumped outside through a window. The child was found hanging in the room on June 30 and the local police considered it as an accidental death while playing with a rope.

The rape and murder were confirmed only during the autopsy. Scientific examination also proved that the hair seen on the child’s body belonged to Arjun, who was later remanded by the court.

Accused acts smart
Raising no suspicions, Arjun was helpful to the victim’s family during the funeral. He even pretended effectively to be grieving over the child’s death. In fact, Arjun purchased the materials for setting up an awning in front of child’s house and led the efforts to prepare food for guests from Tamil Nadu.

Kin’s statement nails accused
Even though he enacted a big drama, a statement to the police by one of his own relatives nailed Arjun. In his first statement to the police, Arjun had said that he last seen the child two days before her death. However, his relative said that Arjun had cut a jackfruit in front of several kids on the day the child was killed and she was present at the spot at that time.

An active DYFI activist, Arjun was well-known in Churakkulam estate and nearby areas. He was in the forefront of COVID-19 activities also and shared several photos in this regard on social media. He also worked at a courier firm at Vandiperiyar for some time.

Local cops’ actions suspect
Meanwhile, it is alleged that the officials of the Vandiperiyar police station had failed to follow proper procedures in the case. When the victim’s body was taken to Idukki Medical College for post-mortem, only a woman civil police officer accompanied it, while the rules say that at least a sub-inspector should be deployed. Similarly, bodies from Vandiperiyar police station limits are usually sent to Kottayam Medical College for autopsy, not to the Idukki Medical College.

However, the Intelligence Department came to know of these developments and ordered a sub-inspector under it to reach Idukki Medical College. There, the doctor who conducted the autopsy realized that the child had been raped and showed the relevant injury marks to the Intelligence sub-inspector, who filed a report containing these details with the Intelligence DySP, Idukki. The report soon reached the Intelligence ADGP and instructions to intensify the probe were issued.

A special squad was immediately formed and Arjun was arrested within days. Idukki district police chief R Karupa Swamy and DySP C G Sanal Kumar led the probe.

After his arrest, when Arjun was brought to the crime scene by the police, the local people showered abuses on him and threatened to manhandle him.

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