Court clean chit for P.J. Kurien in sex scandal

Idukki (Kerala), June 29 (IANS) A court here has dismissed a review petition filed by the victim in the Suryanelli sex case seeking the inclusion of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien as an accused in the case.

The Thodupuzha sessions court said there was nothing new in the petition and all aspects had been looked into earlier.

The woman approached the court after her petition was not admitted in a lower court in Idukki district in March.

The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Idukki district in January 1996, when the then 16-year-old was allegedly threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and was later confined and sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men.

The victim had demanded further investigation into the case in the light of new disclosures, after Dharmarajan, the lone accused in the case, who was absconding after securing bail, was caught by Kerala Police a few months back from Karnataka.

Dharmarajan, ahead of his arrest told a TV channel, about the alleged involvement of Kurien in the case. He, however, testified in the court last month that his earlier remarks were made under the influence of alcohol and gave a clean chit to Kurien.

Kurien's name never appeared in the list of accused and in the late 1990s after a special court found more than 42 people guilty.

The victim then filed a private complaint against Kurien in a court in Idukki district alleging that he had exploited her at a guest house. Kurien got a discharge over the complaint from the Supreme Court.

The case was back in the spotlight after the apex court ordered a retrial in the case Jan 31 this year, while setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused convicted by a special court.

All the accused have since taken bail.

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