Arun Jaitley convinced I am innocent, says P J Kurien

P J Kurien
A day after the BJP demanded that P J Kurien quit as Rajya Sabha deputy chairman in the wake of charges against him in the Suryanelli rape case, he Wednesday claimed Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was "convinced" of his innocence.

"When the high court discharged me, the LDF government in Kerala appealed in the Supreme Court. Arun Jaitley appeared for me in the court, which upheld the HC order. He knows I am innocent. Jaitley will never say I am guilty because he is absolutely convinced about my innocence," Kurien told The Indian Express. He, however, clarified that he has not spoken to Jaitley about the case in recent times.

Alleging a "political conspiracy" behind the allegations, Kurien said the victim was being used "as a tool by CPM". He said even the first inquiry report had said the charges were "either a genuine mistake or the girl is a tool in the hands of political adversaries".

Kurien said he has been trying to talk to the girl but "she is in the custody of the CPM".

"She does what CPM tells her. I had contacted CPM leaders, asking them to let me meet her. They said no... Even recently, I asked her advocate and also the advocate general to let me meet her. They said this is not the time to meet. I even approached her spiritual head, a priest," said Kurien.

Kurien said his name was not in the original FIR in the 1996 case but two months later, the girl named him. "She claimed she had recognised my photo in a newspaper and she identified me as Baji. Assuming her version is true, how is it that she correctly identified all the accused but could not recognise me although I was MP of the area and Union minister? She did it at the instance of the CPM because it came just before 1996 general elections," he said, adding that a complaint was filed against him on the eve of the 1999 elections.

"It was done because I had filed a Rs 25-lakh defamation suit against the girl and then chief minister (E K Nayanar who edited party mouthpiece Deshabhimani that had listed him as an accused). I won the case in lower court. They went for appeal in the high court. Then Nayanar passed away. I had to sue the girl alone and so I withdrew the case," he said.

"Three inquiries, one during UDF and two during LDF regime, exonerated me. The SC examined the issue twice and ruled in my favour. This (latest allegations) is just an attempt to tarnish me and pressure me into resigning. Why should I? There is nothing against me. Somebody will benefit if I resign," he said.

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