Suryanelli gang-rape case returns to haunt PJ Kurien

Last Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 23:54

New Delhi: The Suryanelli gang-rape case has returned to haunt Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien with the victim asking her advocate to explore the possibility of a review of the Supreme Court order quashing all charges against him.

The victim`s request was made in a letter to her advocate in Delhi on January 29, two days before the Supreme Court set aside Kerala High Court`s order acquitting 35 accused in the case and sent the case back to the high court for taking a fresh look at it.

In the letter, she asked the advocate to "explore every possibility to file a review petition before the Supreme Court against its earlier order exonerating Kurien by quashing the further proceedings of the case that were pending before the judicial first class magistrate court, Peermade, against him."

Kurien declined to make any comment on the victim raking up the issue against him.

"I am not going to say anything about this. If I want to say something, I will say that at the proper forum," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Tiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district.

Later in the evening, Kurien said the media should do justice to the truth by perusing the investigation report and court orders in the case.

Former Additional DGP Sibi Mathews, who headed the investigation team, said investigators had reached the conclusion that there was no evidence to support the allegations of the victim.

The then Advocate General had examined the entire case diary and his opinion was in tune with the result of the investigation.

However, the special prosecutor wanted Kurien to be included in the chargesheet.

Following this, the matter was brought to the notice of the then Chief Minister EK Nayanar who said investigators should not be pressured, said Mathews, who is now the Chief Information Commissioner of the state.

Recalling the history of the 1996 case and her original complaint, the victim said that after completion of the investigation, police did not file a chargesheet against Kurien and the prosecution did not prosecute him in the case.

The victim said she had lodged a private complaint against Kurien for the offence of rape and after recording her statement, the Peeramade court had issued summons against him.

She said against the order of the trial court, Kurien had moved the Kerala High Court which had dismissed his petition.

"Ultimately, the Supreme Court had allowed his petition and had quashed all further proceedings before the trial court," she said adding that "as far as the proceedings before the Supreme Court, I was neither summoned nor provided any opportunity to present my case."

"I am having a bonafide belief that the police officials have tried to save Kurien due to the undue influence exercised over them. I am having genuine grievance in the matter," she said.

The apex court had yesterday set aside the High Court`s order on an appeal filed by Kerala challenging the acquittal of the accused in the case.

The Kerala High Court had acquitted 35 persons who were convicted by a special court in September 2000.

The high court had found only one person guilty of crime related to the sex trade and had sentenced him to five years in jail and a fine of Rs 50,000.

The girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district of Kerala was abducted in January 1996 and was transported from place to place across Kerala.

The apex court had on January 03 this year decided to hear the appeal against the acquittal of the 35 accused in the gang-rape case on an urgent basis within three weeks.

The bench had given the assurance after it was brought to its notice that the appeal against the high court verdict had been pending in the apex court for the last eight years.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 23:54

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