Suryanelli rape case: Congress distances itself from Chacko’s remarks

Congress distanced itself from PC Chacko`s remarks that party will take decision on demand for removal of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, facing controversy over an old rape case.

Updated: Feb 12, 2013, 00:48 AM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Monday distanced itself from its spokesperson P C Chacko`s remarks that the party will take a decision on the demand for removal of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, facing controversy over an old rape case, before the Budget Session of Parliament.
"Whatever Chacko has said is his personal opinion," party spokesperson Sandip Dikshit said a day after Kurien`s colleague from Kerala, Chacko said the party will take a decision on his removal before the Budget Session.

A party leader speaking separately on the condition of anonymity, however, said that with new facts emerging like one of the accused now claiming Kurien was indeed involved in the case, his continuance as Deputy Chairman of the upper house appeared to become untenable.

At AICC briefing, Dikshit, however, said "let us see when the House runs" when asked whether there is any possibility of Kurien stepping down before the Budget Session begins.

Kurien was acquitted in the 1996 in the case but the gang-rape victim recently named him as one of those who assaulted her in 1996. The Suryanelli rape survivor sent a letter to the Supreme Court last week, asking for a review of the apex court`s order quashing all charges against Kurien.

Amidst growing calls for Kurien`s removal Chacko had yesterday said the party will take a decision before the Budget Session.

Asked how can this be a personal opinion if it comes from an official spokesperson, Dikshit sought to wriggle out saying, "We can have our personal views as well as that of a spokesperson."

Downplaying the controversy, he said it is an "old case".

"Some new facts have come out. Let the court decide. Some new appeal has been made. They have said that there is a need to have a re-look into the case...Whatever decision has to come, is to come from the court and the state government."

He also reminded that Chacko was cleared by Kerala High Court in the case long back. "As of today he is not convicted. As of now he is cleared by the court. There is no question of the issue of morality when no one is convicted."