I am innocent, in eyes of god and court too: Kurien

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 5 (IANS) Three police investigations and the apex court had exonerated him of involvement in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Tuesday and asserted that he was innocent in the eyes of god too.

"Please note that I have been cleared by three different police investigation teams; besides the apex court exonerated me and the final discharge in the case following a private petition filed by the victim came from the Kerala High Court. In the eyes of god also I have done no wrong," Kurien told IANS.

The horrific case in Suryanelli in Kerala's Idukki district took place in January 1996 when a 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor. She was brutally sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men. The victim had named Kurien as among those who exploited her in 1996.

The case is back in the spotlight after the Supreme Court on Jan 31 ordered a retrial, setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused.

Exuding calm and confidence in the face of an aggressive Left opposition, the Congress leader told IANS at the government guesthouse here that it was all about politics.

"My name surfaced ahead of the then Lok Sabha election; and then at the next election came the girl's private complaint. Hence, there is no doubt that it is just nothing but politics."

He added that he had not proceeded with the defamation case that he had won. The case had named then chief minister E.K. Nayanar and the victim.

"I did not go ahead with it because by then Nayanar had passed away. If I wanted, I could have sought compensation from the girl for maligning me. I did not do it.

"Mind you, if I had gone ahead with it, then this present round of media bashing would not have happened," said he.

"In my discharge granted by the Kerala High Court, it asks who will compensate me for tribulation that I have been subjected to for almost a decade.

"While the prosecution (then Left government in 2007) was arguing against me, the police investigation report gave me a clean chit. I am happy my party is fully with me because they know the entire case," added Kurien.

He said his family had stood by him like a rock from day one.

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