Kasaragod sexual assault: Accused abducted girl fearing she would raise alarm during robbery

Coorg native PA Salim. Photo: Manorama

Kasaragod: The police have registered the arrest of the accused in the sexual assault case of a 10-year-old girl at Kanhangad here. The 35-year-old Coorg native PA Salim was taken into custody from Andhra Pradesh on Friday. He informed the police that he abducted the girl during a robbery attempt to ensure that she did not wake up and raise an alarm. The accused was brought to the crime scene for evidence collection on Saturday.

The crucial phone call
A phone call by the accused to his home proved crucial in tracing him, police said. As the suspect was not using his phone much, the police had a difficult time finding his whereabouts. However, the moment they gathered information that he was in Andhra Pradesh, a team set off for the state and nabbed him. He was brought back to Kanhangad on Friday night.

The police obtained crucial information about the suspect five days after the crime. The accused had been residing in the neighbourhood for many years. But he left his house suddenly on May 15. Police turned suspicious over his disappearance. Further investigation confirmed his role in the crime. Police also obtained CCTV visuals that revealed the suspect's face.

After the crime, the accused escaped to Raichur in Karnataka-Andhra border. He had worked in the area earlier. He was hoping to seek refuge at a woman friend's home here. But the cops were also tracking the woman. Salim called his mother and sisters from the phone of a stranger who was lying unconscious in an inebriated state. The police were able to trace the location- a place called Adoni in Andhra Pradesh- with the help of this call. He was captured by the cops after a struggle.

According to police, the suspect was married from Kanhangad and moved here 14 years ago. They said he was familiar with the survivor's house. "He is a suspect in another POCSO case registered in Melparambu police station two years ago. He molested a 14-year-old girl who is his relative. In that case, he took the girl to the forest area at Adoor on his scooter and raped her. He was in prison on remand for three months in the case. There are also cases of chain snatching against him in the Sullia and Coorg stations," said police.

The case
The 10-year-old girl sleeping in her house was kidnapped and sexually assaulted on May 15. She was found abandoned in a nearby paddy field in the early hours of Wednesday. The girl was allegedly abducted from a hamlet which falls under the Hosdurg police station limit here. According to the child's family members, she was kidnapped from the room of her grandfather after he went out of the house to milk his cows around 3 am. She was found missing from the bed when he returned after some time. They said the grandfather used to go out after closing the door but never locked it. The other family members including the victim's father, mother and sister were sleeping in another room in the same house, they said.

Abandoned in a paddy field, the hapless girl knocked on the door of a house nearby and called her father from a phone of the residents there. Quoting the girl, her family said that an unidentified man had taken her outside the house, threatening to kill her if she raised an alarm. "Her earrings were missing... She said the perpetrator spoke Malayalam," a family member told the media. Based on their complaint, police registered a case and launched a search to trace the suspect.  

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