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Indian couple accused of child abuse to be sentenced

December 03, 2012 18:26 IST

The Indian couple facing criminal charges of "gross or repeated maltreatment" of their child will be sentenced on Tuesday even as the prosecution termed the case as "very serious" and justified their arrest ahead of the court verdict.

"The sentencing is tomorrow. They are facing child abuse cases and are charged with gross or repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence or other wrong, under Section 219," said Kurt Lir, head of prosecution, Oslo police department.

He said, "There were burn marks and scars on the body of the child, who has also been beaten with a belt."

Asked why the police arrested the couple -- Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a software professional from Andhra Pradesh, and his wife Anupama before the sentencing -- Lir said that authorities feared that they will evade prosecution by returning to India.

"Under three circumstances, if we are concerned about (tampering) of the evidence or we fear they may leave the country or they might do it again, we make arrests before the sentencing," he said.

On whether the police department came across such cases often, he said, "Yes, it is quite often. And not only foreigners but Norwegians are also involved in such cases."

He also said the prosecution has proposed a sentence of 15 months for the mother and 18 months for the father in the case.

Anupama's lawyer Marte Brotrome said it was wrong to keep the Indian couple in prison in Norway. "If the court sentences them, we will appeal against it," she has said.

"They didn't hurt their children. They had some difficulties in handling the boy but they didn't hurt him and they didn't mean to do anything wrong. They tried to get help but they did not get any help," she said.

The police arrested Chandrasekhar nine months after the child complained to his school teachers that his parents were threatening to send him back to India for his acts.
   
India has already indicated that it will not intervene in the legal process of that country.

"This is an issue that relates to a private citizen and to the local law of that country," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said.

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