No evidence linking P.J. Kurien to Suryanelli case: Ex-policeman

Kottayam, Feb 1 (IANS) There was no evidence linking Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien to the Suryanelli sex scandal, a former police officer who probed the 1996 crime said Friday even as the victim indicated she was considering legal options for re-opening the case against him.

Speaking to media persons here, Sibi Mathews said a discussion took place with the then chief minister E.K.Nayanar to finalise the list of accused in the case before giving it to the court.

"(The then advocate general) M.K. Damodaran said there was no evidence to link Kurien in the case. Then Nayanar asked me as I was the investigating official and I said that only if there was clear evidence can we present it to the court and Nayanar said 'Do only that'," said Mathew, who took voluntary retirement from the Indian Police Service in 2011 and became Chief Information Commissioner.

His comments came a day after the Supreme Court ordered a re-trial.

The Suryanelli case was named after the place where the victim hailed from in the state's Idukki district. The crime occurred January 1996 when the then 16-year-old was threatened, abducted, abused by a bus conductor, and brutally raped and treated as a pleasure object for a period of 45 days by 42 men.

A special court found 35 of the accused guilty but in 2005 the Kerala High Court acquitted all but one of the accused. The victim then approached the apex court, which after a gap of eight years, annulled the high court verdict.

Some local TV channels were since Friday showing a letter supposedly written by the victim to her advocates to see if a review petition can be filed to re-open the case against then central minister Kurien, who had allegedly also exploited her.

The victim and her parents said they stand by the charges against the Congress leader.

She told reporters that she stands by what she had testified before a magistrate in Idukki after she filed a private complaint.

"Since Kurien was involved, we gave a private case," said the victim's mother told reporters at her home.

"Yes, we stand by it. Is giving a statement child's play," asked the victim's father.

The Idukki court had served notice to Kurien, but he went to the high court and then the apex court ruled in his favour.

Commenting on the latest developments, Leader of Opposition and Communist Party of India-Marxist stalwart V.S. Achuthanandan told reporters that the latest disclosures are of serious nature and should be probed.

Meanwhile, Kurien, who is in the state, told reporters that he has no comments to offer on the latest development and will say what he has to say at the appropriate place.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also did not make any comments despite queries by reporters.

State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said the apex court has already cleared Kurien and hence he has nothing to say about it.

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