The Kerala Police on Wednesday arrested Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Chumathra Elimannil Saji (39) for circulating a nude video of his fellow woman comrade online. He was charged under the relevant provisions of the Information Technology Act.
The case involves 12 accused. Apart from Saji, all the other accused are absconding.
According to the Kerala Police, CPI(M) branch secretary CC Sajimon and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) leader Nasar are accused of stripping the woman and taking her nude photos.
The video was widely shared on social media later.
According to the complaint, the incident occurred in May this year. The two prime accused reportedly took the woman in a car and committed the crime.
Sajimon and Nasar, according to the complaint filed by the survivor, gave her sedative-laced soft drinks and sexually abused her.
A video recording was also made. The accused demanded payment of Rs 2 lakh and threatened the victim that the video would be shared on social media if the payment was not made, police said.
Sajimon is the 11th accused, and Nasar is the 12th one.
On the basis of the complaint, Sajimon and Nasar were booked under Section 354 a (Sexual harassment), 354 b (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) and 294 (obscene acts).
The others were booked by police on the complaint that they circulated video footage of the abuse online.
The rest of the accused has been booked under Section 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the Indian Penal Code and 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT Act.
Police will examine the accused’s WhatsApp chats. They will proceed with further investigation once they get hold of them.
Having been embarrassed by the controversial case, the Pathanamthitta district committee of the CPI(M) has gone on the defensive.
Some allege police haven’t taken swift action against the accused because the CPI(M), the ruling party in the state, is backing them. Additionally, the accused were said to be hiding in the CPI(M) area committee office.
Police finally began arresting the accused after widespread protests over the delay.