The leader of a Maoist sect from Edmonton, North London, has appeared in court in Westminster on 25 charges of false imprisonment, rape and child cruelty.
Aravindan Balakrishnan, 74, was arrested in Lambeth in November 2013.
He faces one charge of cruelty to a person under the age of 16, one charge of false imprisonment, 19 charges of indecent assault and four charges of rape. His lawyer has indicated that Balakrishnan will plead not guilty. During the 20 minute hearing, Balakrishnan spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.
The child cruelty charge is that between January 6 1983 and January 7 1999 Balakrishnan “wilfully ill-treated, assaulted, and neglected” a child in a manner “likely to cause unnecessary suffering to said child or injury to its health”.
A 67-year-old woman, understood to be Balakrishnan’s wife, Chanda Pattni, was arrested with him in November last year, but will face no further action and was released without charge in September after 10 months on bail.
District Judge Howard Riddle, granting bail with conditions, set the next hearing for Southwark Crown Court in London on New year’s Eve – but Balakrishnan’s lawyer, Adam Wiseman, has indicated he intends to apply to adjourn the hearing until the week beginning January 5th.