Suriyanelli rape victim seeks new prosecutors



Kochi: Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the government to file an affidavit on a petition by the Suriyanelli victim seeking appointment of two new special prosecutors to conduct the case in court after the state opposed her plea.

The order was issued by Justice P R Ramachandra Menon before whom the petition came up today.

The victim had also complained that the Director General of Prosecutions (DGP), T Asaf Ali, had tendered adverse legal advise to her in her complaint against Rajya Sabha Deputy chairman P J Kurien and if he conducts a hearing on the appeals, she would be 'greatly prejudiced'.

She sought appointment of the earlier prosecutors -- Suresh Babu Thomas and C S Ajayan -- saying they had successfully conducted the case at the special court, Kottayam and were conversant with all details and hence will take minimum time to prepare the case.

The victim claimed that that despite fresh evidence cropping up against Kurien, government and police on the advise of DGP refused to take action against him. If the DGP conducts the case, she would be 'greatly prejudiced', she stated.

The government opposed the plea of the victim.

Meanwhile, the final hearing of appeals of the 35 accused began before a division bench comprising justices K T Sankaran and M L Joseph Francis.

The trial court had convicted and sentenced the 35 to varying terms of imprisonment, but the High Court had acquitted them in 2005. The Supreme Court had stayed the High Court's order and directed them to surrender before the special court.

The case relates to a 16-year-old girl from Suryanelli in Kerala's Idukki district being abducted in January 1996 and taken to various places and sexually exploited by at least 40 persons.

The victim had also filed a complaint against Kurien, listing him as an accused in the case along with three others.

Dharmarajan, the prime accused who had jumped bail, was recently arrested from Karnataka and sent to Poojapaura central jail.

PTI