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Court to record evidence in cyberporn case today

By K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI, MARCH 24. The cyberporn crime case, involving a city orthopaedic surgeon, has reached the trial stage and a Fast Track Court (FTC) here will start recording evidence tomorrow. The court has ordered summons to two persons for their appearance tomorrow.

Following orders by the Madras High Court, the case, hitherto handled by G. Savithri, judge, FTC-V, has been transferred to the FTC-IV.

Besides the city doctor, L. Prakash, six persons — Saravanan of Annanagar, Vijayan of Nerkundram, Asir of Kanyakumari district, Ananth, Nixon of Annanagar West and Pradeep Lakshmanan, brother of the doctor, have been cited as accused in the charge sheet.

The prosecution has charged them with committing offences under the Information Technology Act, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act and Sections 120-B (conspiracy), 506 (ii) (intimidation), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) 307 (attempt to murder) and 376 (punishment for rape) of IPC.

According to the charge sheet, the doctor used his farmhouse at Kalanchikuppam, near Ennore, and his guesthouse at Valasaravakkam here to detain several girls who were sexually exploited. When the girls were engaged in sexual activities, the accused took pictures. The photographs were later put on web sites. A licensed revolver was used for causing imminent danger to the life of a woman. Chitra of Kodambakkam and Guna Rathina Raju of Nesapakkam, Ramapuram, have been cited as approvers.

After the case was committed to the FTC-V for trial, the judge fixed the date for framing charges. The court rejected the defence plea for handing over copies of 74 CDs seized by the police for an expert view, besides the Tamil version of documents in the case.

Following this, defence moved the High Court, which permitted the accused to view one or two of the CDs in the judge's chamber to find out whether there was any manipulation in the production of the CDs. As the trial court judge was a woman officer, the High Court later ordered the transfer of the case. It ordered that the trial be completed expeditiously. Accordingly, the case was transferred to the FTC-IV, presided over by G.K. Bharathi. One of the CDs was viewed by defence last week.

Two witnesses, including the complainant, Ganesan of Pondicherry, are to appear tomorrow.

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