A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences court in Chennai on Monday sentenced eight persons to life imprisonment and thirteen others to a 20-year jail term for raping and forcing a minor girl into prostitution, The Hindu reported.

A functionary of the Bhartiya Janata Party, a police inspector and a journalist are among those given a jail term of 20 years.

The court had convicted all the accused in the case on September 15 and the quantum of sentences was announced on Monday, according to PTI.

The matter came to light after the mother of the girl had lodged a complaint against a couple of her relatives at an all-women police station in Washermenpet in September 2020.

She had told the police that after the demise of her husband, she was facing financial difficulties and had entrusted the girl to her sister. She had complained that her sister and her partner had pushed the child into sex work.

The girl was raped by more than 100 men before she was rescued by her mother with the help of the police in November that year, according to The Times of India. Following this, a chargesheet running over 560 pages was filed by the police.

Of the total 26 persons charged, four were absconding and one person died during the trial. The prosecution was then asked to pursue the case against the 21 accused.

“We filed the chargesheet against the accused under the provisions of the POCSO Act and the Indian Penal Code,” Investigating officer S Priyadharshni said, according to The Hindu. “Over 96 witnesses and other evidence were produced for examination.”

On Monday, Sessions Judge M Rajalakshmi imposed a fine of Rs 7 lakh on the convicts and asked them to pay it to the girl’s family. She also ordered the state government to provide Rs 5 lakh to them.