MALAPPURAM: A 60-year-old businessman from Thrithala, Mankunnath Moideen Kutty, was arrested on Saturday for allegedly molesting a minor inside a theatre in Edappal, Malappuram.
A CCTV clip of the incident on April 18, shows Moideen Kutty sexually abusing the girl through the duration of the movie even as her mother sat next to them without intervening. Police said the man was in a relationship with the girl’s mother.
Though the theatre management handed over the video clips to Childline workers on April 25, no action was initiated till a Malayalam TV channel aired the visual this afternoon.
Childline officials told ToI that they had handed over the visuals and other details including the registration number of the Mercedez Benz in which the man came to the cinema hall to the police a week after the incident. Police, however, did nothing to trace the man in spite of clinching visuals that literally framed him. But within hours after the video went viral, Malappuram police launched a probe and suspended sub-inspector K G Baby.
Delay in action: Rights panel orders probe against cops
Subsequently, Moideen Kutty was arrested by Shoranur police from Palakkad while coming out after meeting an advocate. Delay in police action, meanwhile, prompted the Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) to order a probe against the police officials who delayed action on the complaint and directed the Malappuram district police chief to directly supervise the investigation and file a detailed report within three weeks.
Health and social justice minister K K Shylaja said if police had failed to act despite receiving a complaint, it was a “grave lapse” and action would be taken. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded the government register a case against police officials who delayed the arrest of the accused. “The incident was shocking. Cases should be registered against the DSP and station house officer for conspiring to keep the incident under carpet even after receiving complaint along with CCTV visuals of abuse,” he said. Following the arrest, police confirmed that Moideen Kutty – ironically known in the locality for his philanthropy and active role in many social organisations – had abused the girl with the connivance of the girl’s mother. “The visuals show the woman and the girl entering the cinema hall. The man comes in later and occupies a seat between the two. The man starts abusing the girl right from the beginning of the show,” Childline district coordinator Anwar Karakkadan said.
According to theatre staff, they couldn’t check the CCTV images live on April 18 as they were busy with a function happening in another screen in the same complex.
“By the time we noticed this incident and informed our management, they left the theatre after the movie. We copied the visuals and handed them over it to Childline the very next day,” a staff told ToI. Malappuram is a place where many families come to watch movies without any fear. “We don’t want such mishaps to affect this reputation,’’ he said.