Police have arrested a visually impaired Nigerian man Nikki Philip and one pastor G. Chelladurai, on the charges of sexually assaulting a schoolgirl belonging to Dalit community in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India .
Police sources said Philip, 51, the Nigerian national, staying at Chrompet in Chennai, was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting the girl, studying Class XI at a school near Tiruvannamalai town.
He was slapped with a case under sections 376 (rape) of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 4 (penetrative sexual assault), 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and 9 (male adult marrying child), 10 (solemnising child marriage) of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act by the All Women Police in Tiruvannamalai town.
Investigations revealed that Nikki Philip, who had come to Chennai for medical treatment several years ago, had visited a church run by the victim’s grandmother Mary Amutha at Kilnachipattu recently, with the help of a man from Kerala, Paul.
He promised Mary Amutha that he would marry her granddaughter and take her to his country where she could lead a luxurious life as he had so much of wealth, the sources said.
Believing his words, Mary Amutha agreed to get the victim married to him. On September 25, he took the victim along with Mary Amutha to his house in Chrompet and formally married her at a church in Perumbakkam on October 12. He had spent five days with the minor girl.
In the meantime, the girl’s aunt, Sathiya, staying at Tiruvannamalai informed the victim’s father who is living in Bengaluru about the marriage. Subsequently, they went to Chrompet, rescued the girl, and took Nikki Philip also to Tiruvannamalai, before handing him to the Veraiyur police station in the district.
The sources said since the victim’s father pleaded with the police that if a case was registered, it would affect the future of the girl, the police did not register any cases.
They also let the Nigerian national who is a visually impaired person, the sources recalled. Since then, the girl had been staying with her aunt.
About a month after the incident, the Childline got information and the volunteers of the helpline rescued her on November 10. She was subjected to medical examinations as well. Following a report from the concerned authorities of Childline and Child Welfare Committee, the police began investigations on Nov. 23.
“We received the information from Childline on Nov. 23 and immediately began investigations. After recording the victim’s statement, FIR was registered,” P Thamizharasi, Inspector of AWPS, Tiruvannvamalai town, told Express on Tuesday.
Following the statement provided by the victim, it came to light that she was sexually assaulted by the Pastor G Chelladurai, 20. He had been in relation with the girl from Feb. 2017 to May 2018 by falsely promising to marry her. He was slapped with a case for rape and sexual assault under various sections of IPC and POCSO Act.
The police arrested Chelladurai, who had shifted to Krishnagiri from Tiruvannamalai, after the FIR was registered on Nov. 23. After quizzing him, the police produced him before a local court and remanded him in judicial custody at the Central Prisons in Vellore, the sources noted.
According to Inspector Thamizharasi cases were also registered against Paul, who introduced Nikki Philip, and the victim’s grandmother Mary Amutha. Efforts are on to nab them.
Investigations are also being held to check the travel documents of Nikki Philip, who had told the police that he came to India in 2011 for medical treatment as he lost both his eyes in a terror attack in Nigeria
Since the victim belongs to Dalit community, three of the accused-Chelladurai, a converted Christian, Paul and Nikki Philip, will attract a case under relevant sections of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as well.
The investigating team is rushing to Bengaluru to collect the community certificate of the girl, after which relevant sections of SC/ST Act will be slapped against the accused persons, sources said.