IT manager gets nine weeks for molesting woman on MRT train

On Thursday (July 20), 46-year-old Rajagopala Soundararaja Panneer Selvan was sentenced to nine weeks' jail after he admitted to molesting the 28-year-old woman.
On Thursday (July 20), 46-year-old Rajagopala Soundararaja Panneer Selvan was sentenced to nine weeks' jail after he admitted to molesting the 28-year-old woman. ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - An IT manager repeatedly pressed himself against the buttocks of a woman on a crowded MRT train in March this year.

On Thursday (July 20), 46-year-old Rajagopala Soundararaja Panneer Selvan was sentenced to nine weeks' jail after he admitted to molesting the 28-year-old woman.

The Indian national did it while travelling on the East-West Line between 8.45am and 9.15am on March 16.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ng Yiwen told the court that as was the victim's usual practice, she boarded the second last cabin of the train at Kembangan MRT station that day.

While the train was travelling between Paya Lebar and Aljunied station, she felt something hard pressing against her buttocks, said DPP Ng.

She assumed that someone had accidentally knocked into her and so moved away.

Shortly after, the same thing happened again. This time, she turned around and saw a male Indian standing behind her. She later identified him as Rajagopala.

The victim decided to give him some space and moved away again.

But she noticed that he continued to follow her, and she again felt something hard pressing against her buttocks.

She turned around and saw him pressing against her and felt that her modesty had been outraged. She stared at him, but he ignored her.

DPP Ng said the victim then used her laptop bag to cover her buttocks as she was afraid that he would persist with his actions.

When the train arrived at City Hall MRT station, he alighted and moved to the opposite platform.

The victim continued on her journey to Tanjong Pagar. She made a police report that evening as she wanted to stop Rajagopala from molesting other women.

Police tracked him down and Rajagopala was arrested on April 18. He admitted to the offence.

A second charge of touching a woman on the buttocks inside an MRT train in January was taken into consideration.

In his mitigation plea, lawyer Ravinderpal Singh said his client realised his actions were wrong and had caused emotional and psychological harm to the victims involved.

He said his client suffers from a sleep disorder that affects the amount of rest he gets and his ability to focus at work. This had caused him considerable stress from time to time.

DPP Ng had asked for at least six weeks' jail, saying the offence was committed on a public transport on a commuter. A deterrent sentence was necessary to discourage would-be offenders from committing such offences, he said.

District Judge Samuel Chua backdated the accused's sentence to July 13. The maximum penalty is two years' jail, a fine and caning.