New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) The Congress Monday defended Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, whose name has been dragged in a 17-year-old rape case in Kerala, saying that he had not yet been convicted by any court.
"New evidence has come... let it come before the Supreme Court... the court will decide... we will follow what the court decides," Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit told reporters.
"It is an old case and he (Kurien) has not been convicted by any court," he said.
The case was back in the spotlight after the Supreme Court Jan 31 ordered a retrial in the case while setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused.
Spelling fresh trouble for the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, Dharmarajan, an accused who served a jail sentence in the 17-year-old Suryanelli sex scandal case has said that Kurien was present at the guest house where the victim was exploited.
"Kurien, in fact, travelled in my ambassador car to the Kumily guest house. Why would I tell a lie," Dharmarajan told a TV channel at an undisclosed location in Mysore.
He added that the then investigation official and present State Information Commissioner Siby Mathew had prevailed upon him not to name Kurien in the case.
A lawyer by profession, Dharmarajan was the only accused convicted by the high court in 2005 while it cleared 34 others earlier held guilty by a special court that conducted trial in the case in the late 1990s.
The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Idukki district January 1996. A 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and was later confined and sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men.