TN: Court defers Vachathi case verdict to Sep 29

Vachathi case relates to alleged assault of tribal people and rape of several women by a team of forest, police and revenue officials.

Dharmapuri: A special court here on Monday
delayed the verdict to September 29 on Vachathi case relating
to alleged assault of tribal people and rape of several women
by a team of forest, police and revenue officials during a
search for smuggled sandalwood.

The court was slated to pronounce the judgement today in
the case investigated by the CBI but adjourned it following
the absence of three of the 215 accused.

Posting the case to September 29, special judge-cum-
principal district and sessions judge S Kumaraguru issued
arrest warrants against the three accused.

269 persons were cited as accused but 54 of them died
during pendency of the case.

According to CBI, on June 20, 1992 a team comprising 155
forest personnel, 108 policemen and six revenue officials
entered Vachathi in Tamil Nadu`s Krishnagiri district to
search for smuggled sandalwood.

Under the pretext of inquiry, they allegedly assaulted
about 100 villagers, detained women and children and raped 18
of them, besides ransacking their properties.

Soon after the incident, a fact-finding committee led by
Tamil Nadu Tribal People Association chief P Shanmugam had
found that the officials raped 18 women and thrashed 64 women
and 15 men.

The Supreme Court had ordered a CBI probe into the
incident on a petition by Shanmugam after his plea before the
Madras High Court was rejected.

The CBI took over the case in 1995 and its team led by
then DSP Jaganathan filed charge sheets against 269 personnel
in Coimbatore a year later.

The accused were booked for rape, rioting, voluntarily
causing hurt under various IPC sections and other charges
under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

In 2002, the Madras High Court ordered the setting up of
the special court to conduct the trial.

Heavy security arrangements were made in the court
complex in view of the case coming up for pronouncement of the


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