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No case can be registered against P.J. Kurien: Legal opinion

No case can be registered against P.J. Kurien: Legal opinion

Kochi: State director general of prosecution T. Asaf Ali Monday told the Kerala government that no case could be filed against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien in a complaint registered by the Suryanelli sex case victim last week.

On Feb 22, the victim, along with her parents and others, approached the Chingavanam police station near Kottayam and filed a complaint against Kurien, alleging that the present deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha had sexually exploited her at a guest house in Idukki Feb 19, 1996.

The police accepted her complaint and offered a receipt of the complaint, but did not register a case as they were unsure whether a case could be lodged legally in the matter, given that Kurien had already been cleared of the charges in the Supreme Court.

Ali opined that there was nothing new in the complaint, and it did not merit a fresh case.

Incidentally, the Suryanelli sex case victim made the complaint after the only man convicted in the case, Dharmarajan, a lawyer by profession, claimed in an interview to a TV channel that Kurien had travelled in his car to Idukki.

Dharmarajan, a lawyer, was serving a sentence in jail in the case when he jumped bail in 2005. He had been in hiding until his arrest from near Mysore earlier this month, a little after he spoke to the TV channel.

The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Idukki district in January 1996. The victim, then only 16 years old, was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and was later taken from place to place and sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men.

The case returned to the spotlight after the Supreme Court Jan 31 ordered a retrial of the case in the Kerala High Court, setting aside the acquittal by that court in 2005 of all but Dharmarajan.

A special court had earlier convicted 35 accused.

The apex court had given the 35 accused four weeks' time to seek fresh bail; 19 of them approached the court Monday.

A division bench of the Kerala High Court posted the fresh bail application of 19 of the 35 accused for hearing March 4.

Counsel for the state government filed an affidavit, stating that they too should be heard when the court looks into the fresh bail application.

Meanwhile, Kamala Sadanandan, general secretary of the Kerala Mahila Sanghom filed a petition in the high court that a further investigation in the Suryanelli sex case should be ordered, and Kurien's role investigated.

Kurien's name never appeared in the list of accused. In the late 1990s, after the lower court found more than 42 people guilty, the victim filed a private complaint against Kurien in a court in Idukki district. In that case, Kurien was acquitted by the apex court.


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