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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightCongress unlikely to...

Congress unlikely to act against Kurien in rape case

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Congress unlikely to act against Kurien in rape case
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New Delhi: The Congress is unlikely to take any action against Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P.J. Kurien, whose name has been dragged into the Suryanelli rape case, a Congress leader said Monday.

"There are too many gaps in the fact sheet of the case. We need to ascertain the truth in the matter," said a Congress leader on the condition of anonymity.

The Congress may not act against Kurien in the 17-year-old alleged rape case despite knowing that the opposition would raise the issue in the parliament's budget session starting Feb 21.

The Congress has been defending Kurien saying the party would like to wait till all the facts in the case are known.

Kurien met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last week and explained his position.

The Congress has said that Kurien's name was cleared in the case by the Supreme Court and it was for state investigation agencies or the apex court to make any further observations in the matter.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has refused to reopen the case.

According to party sources, there is no "tolerance" in the Congress for a serious charge like rape, but a person cannot be "hanged" merely on the basis of an allegation.

"If this is done without taking all the facts into account, it could set a dangerous trend," said a Congress leader.

But the Congress, which plans to pass a tough anti-rape law in the budget session, understands the embarrassment it could face when parliament debates the issue with Kurien in the chair.

A possible compromise formula could be that Kurien may offer not to officiate as deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha to calm the opposition, sources said.

They added that the matter may not be blown out of proportion if the opposition is taken into confidence on the issue.

"Kurien had filed a defamation case against his detractors earlier and won. There were no counter appeals. He had won elections but the issue was never raised. Why now?" said a Congress leader.

The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Kerala's Idukki district 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.

IANS

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