Suryanelli case: Ex-HC judge courts controversy

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 10 -- The Suryanelli sex scandal got murkier on Saturday after a sting operation showed a former Kerala high court judge defending the acquittal of 35 accused in the case, saying the victim was a child prostitute and not raped.

"There was enough evidence to show the girl was used for child prostitution, which, in fact, was not a rape," justice R Basant, part of a two-member HC bench that acquitted the accused in 2005, was shown as saying on a Malayalam channel.

Justice Basant is also heard criticising the Supreme Court, which set aside the acquittal and sent the case back to Kerala HC.

Amid a barrage of criticism, he clarified what he was being shown as saying was an unethical recording of an off-the-record comment. "If I was asked to decide the case again, I would decide the same way. Please read the judgment," he said. The case pertains to the alleged abduction and rape of a 16-year-old.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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