Suryanelli case rocks Kerala Assembly, House adjourned

Kerala Assembly was today rocked by the issue of a complaint by the Suryanelli gangrape victim against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien with opposition LDF forcing its adjournment after government rejected their demand to re-investigate the 17-year-old case.

Placard-waving LDF members, led by slogan shouting women colleagues, rushed to the well, denouncing the government's stand that a fresh probe was not legally possible as the charge had already been inquired into and found baseless with the Supreme Court allowing Kurien's discharge petition in 2007.

In a hard-hitting speech, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said government's position went sharply against the spirit of the ordinance on sex crimes against women signed by President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday, which had a provision that the victim's deposition in rape cases should be given due prominence.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, however, maintained that the government's avowed stand was that the guilty should be punished, but that the innocent should not be 'crucified.'

He said the complaint against Kurien had been found baseless by the investigators and the result of the probe upheld by both the High Court and the Supreme Court.

"A guilty (person) should be punished. But at the same time, an innocent should not be crucified in any manner. This is most improper," Chandy said.

On Achuthanandan's contention that government had flouted the spirit of the ordinance, he said the investigation against Kurien was conducted twice based on the statement of the victim, that too during the tenures of the both UDF and LDF.

As LDF continued their protests, Speaker G Karthikeyan adjourned the house, rushing through the business.

Earlier during zero hour, the house was adjourned for an hour amid opposition protests over the issue which it kept up after the house re-assembled.

Kurien's name figured again in the case after the victim wrote to her lawyer in Delhi on January 29 to explore the possibility of filing a review petition, seeking a fresh probe against him. She had also faxed a letter to Chandy on February 2, seeking a fresh probe.

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