New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: Facing the heat after fresh twists in the Suryanelli gangrape case, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P. J. Kurien has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and chairman of the upper house Hamid Ansari explaining his position.
People familiar with the matter said he has explained his position to the party president and Ansari amid Opposition demand for his resignation. He is understood to have explained in the letter the judgements of various courts, which “exonerated” him in the case.
When contacted, Kurien said he cannot speak to the media on any communication between him and the Congress president. The lone convict in the Suryanelli gangrape case had Monday alleged that Kurien was involved in it as claimed by the victim.
Dharmarajan, the convict who is absconding after obtaining bail, had told a television channel that the principal investigator in the case had allegedly pressurised him not to mention Kurien’s alleged involvement in the case. Kurien, however, rubbished Dharmarajan’s claim, holding that the statement of an accused after conviction has no legal validity. Reacting to the charge, he said, “this is a settled position of the Supreme Court (that the statement of an accused after conviction has no legal validity). “Secondly, every accused gets a chance to make a statement before the judge. He did not say this at that time. You (mediapersons) find out why he is making this claim now.”
Kurien’s colleague in Kerala and Congress spokesperson P.C. Chacko had on Sunday said that the party will take a decision on the demand for Kurien’s removal as deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha before the Budget Session of Parliament. However, the Congress had distanced itself from Chacko’s remarks.
“Whatever Chacko has said is his personal opinion,” party spokesperson Sandip Dikshit had said.
The Kerala police has set up a special team to trace and arrest the absconding convict Dharmarajan after he appeared on the Malayalam TV channel. The four-member team has left for Karnataka from where Dharmarajan purportedly gave the interview to the channel on Monday.
The task entrusted with the team would be co-ordinated by the superintendent of police, Kottayam, police sources said.
The third accused in the 1996 gangrape case, Dharmarajan fled Kerala before the probe was completed, but he was traced and arrested at Udupi in Karnataka later. The special court which tried the case sentenced him to life in 2002.
The High Court, however, remitted it to five years in 2005. He secured bail to file an appeal the same year but has been absconding since then.
In his TV interview, Dharmarajan claimed that Kurien, who was a minister at the Centre then, had travelled in his car to a guest house in Kumali, where the girl alleged she was raped. PTI