Absconding rape accused extradited from Saudi Arabia

Kollam: A Keralite who had allegedly raped a minor girl two years ago and fled to Saudi Arabia, was nabbed with Interpol's help three weeks ago and brought here from Riyadh by a Kerala police team early Wednesday.

Sunil Kumar, 38, had raped the 13-year-old girl, belonging to the scheduled caste community, in 2017 when he had come to Kerala from the Middle East for a holiday, police said.

Charges had earlier been framed against him under Indian Penal Code section 376  (Rape), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, police said.

The accused had befriended the girl's uncle and had committed the crime. The incident came to light after the victim spoke to her classmates about her ordeal.

Childline, an NGO, was informed and a case was registered.

The victim, who was shifted to a women's home here, later allegedly committed suicide by hanging, police said.

It was after the girl's death that the accused, slipped out of the country, they said.

As the case gathered dust, Kollam police commissioner Merin Joseph decided to track Sunil Kumar and bring him before the law.

A red corner notice was issued by Interpol on the request of Kerala police, Merin Joseph said.

A letter of request was submitted to the National Crime Bureau, Riyadh, following which the accused, who was working as a tile worker, was detained two weeks ago, police said.

The Kerala police was then informed and a three-member team-- Kollam police commissioner Merin Joseph, district crime record bureau assistant commissioner M Anil Kumar and Oachira circle inspector R Prakash, left for Riyadh on July 14.

Officials of the Ministry of Interior gave them visa on arrival and handed over the accused to Kerala police on July 16 and the team flew to Kochi early Wednesday.

Kumar is reportedly the first person from Kerala to be deported under the India-Saudi Arabia extradition treaty, Merin Joseph said.

Police had made all efforts to bring him back but they failed following which Interpol's help was sought,she said.

The IPS officer told the media that there was full cooperation from Interpol.

Crimes against children have been on the rise in the state with 3,543 cases being registered in 2017 of which 1,045 related to rape, according to crime record bureau figures.

As per the provisional figures for 2018, 4,008 crime cases were registered, including 1,204 for rape.

Upto April this year, 1,394 crimes were registered in the state against children, including 397 rape cases.

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