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2015 Salem Gokulraj murder case: Prime witness presented before Madurai bench of Madras HC
Chennai: The main witness in the 2015 Salem Gokulraj murder case, Swathi, has been brought to the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court in Tamil Nadu on Friday.
The case dates back about seven years when the decapitated body of a Dalit youth, named V Gokulraj was found near a railway track in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu in 2015. The Madurai Special Court on March 8, 2022, sentenced the main accused S Yuvraj, a caste outfit offender and the founder of Theeran Chinnamalai Counter Assembly alongwith nine other convicts of the murder for life imprisonment.
Gokulraj was an engineering student from Salem's Omalur, who was kidnapped from a temple at Tiruchengode by a group of people on June 23, 2015.
The engineering student was seen talking to a girl who reportedly belonged to the Gounder community, a day before his mutilated body was found on the railway track.
It has been alleged that he was killed for falling in love with a girl from a different community and the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) had initially arrested 15 people in the matter.
The Madurai branch of the High Court, headed by the bench of Justices Ramesh and Anand Venkatesh on Thursday ordered Swathi, a prime witness, who turned hostile during the trial in 2018 to be produced in court today.
"In this case, it is very obligatory to investigate Swathi. These safeguards must be taken to ensure that Swathi comes before this Court without any fear in her mind when she is questioned by this Court," the Court observed.
Following the petition of Gokulraj's mother Chitra, the case was transferred from Namakkal Court to Madurai District's third Additional Sessions Court (Special Court for Prevention of Atrocities) on May 8, 2019.
The Madurai court, which ruled on this case on March 8, sentenced 10 people, including Yuvraj, to life imprisonment and acquitted 5 others. 10 people including Yuvraj filed an appeal in the Madurai branch of the Court against this sentence. At the same time, Gokularaj's mother and CBCID and CBI parties had filed various petitions seeking confirmation of the conviction of the accused in the case. (ANI)