On Friday, the District Additional sessions court in Kottayam, Kerala sentenced prime accused in the Vithura sex racket case Suresh to 24 years of rigorous imprisonment. As the sentences are to be served together, Suresh will technically spend 10 years in jail. In addition, he was asked to pay a penalty of Rs 1,09,000.
Suresh was found guilty under sections 344 (Wrongful confinement for ten or more days) and 372 (Selling minor for purposes of prostitution) of the Indian Penal Code and other sections of Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), in one of the 24 cases registered against him in connection with the rape and sale of the victim for sex work.
The case pertaining to the incident that took place in October 1995 when the sex trade involving a minor girl, hailing from Vithura came to light in July 1996 as the victim landed in police custody along with one of the accused.
Following the probe, it was revealed that she was abducted and forced into sex work. While multiple reports have cited the girl to have been a minor during the time of the incident, a section of reports stated that the court is yet to finally ascertain the same. According to reports, the prosecution stated that the girl was not even 18-year-old though the defence claimed that she was 19 years old when nabbed.
Suresh had gone absconding soon after the incident in 1996, but surrendered before the court after several years in 2014, following the acquittal of the other accused in the case that year. However, he again absconded during the trial of the case, and in 2019 he was nabbed by the Crime Branch wing of the Kerala police from Hyderabad.
The court had declared him a fugitive in several cases registered against him in connection with the sex racket. Of the 46 accused in the case, 20 have been acquitted by the court for want of evidence earlier.