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Suriyanelli victim withdraws request for special prosecutors

Suriyanelli victim withdraws request for special prosecutors

Kochi: The Suriyanelli gang-rape victim on Friday withdrew her request to appoint special prosecutors to contest the appeals of the 35 accused in the case in the Kerala high court.

However, the court permitted the victim to make an application to appoint a counsel of her choice to assist the prosecution.

Earlier, the government had informed the court that her request to appoint two special prosecutors-- Suresh Babu Thomas and C S Ajayan, to conduct the case, has been declined.

Considering the fact that final hearing on appeals was progressing before a Division Bench for the past two weeks, Justice P K Ramachandra Menon disposed of the victim's plea.

The victim had complained that the Director General of Prosecutions (DGP), T Asaf Ali, had tendered an adverse legal advice to her in her complaint against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, P J Kurien and if he conducts a hearing on the appeals, she would be 'greatly prejudiced'.

The earlier prosecutors-- Suresh Babu Thomas and C S Ajayan, who conducted the case successfully at special court, Kottayam, were conversant with all details of the case and would only take minimum time to prepare the case and hence they should be appointed, she had submitted.

Despite new evidence cropping up as revealed by key accused Darmarajan against Kurien,government and police on DGP's advice refused to take action against him, she had said.

The trial court had convicted and sentenced the 35 accused to varying terms of imprisonment but the High Court had acquitted them in 2005. The Supreme court had stayed the order and directed them to surrender before the special court.

The case relates to a 16-year-old girl from Suryanelli in Kerala's Idukki district being abducted in January 1996 and taken to to various places and sexually exploited by at least 40 odd persons. Dharmarajan, who had jumped bail, was recently arrested from Karnataka and has been lodged in the Poojapaura central jail at Thiruvanathapuram.

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