Suryanelli gangrape case: Absconding convict Dharmarajan arrested in Karnataka

Crime against women

Dharmarajan, the absconding convict in the Suryanelli gangrape case over which Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien is facing heat, was arrested by Kerala Police from Sagar in Karnataka.

The third accused in the 17-year old case, Dharmarajan was arrested by a five-member special team of Kerala Police, Kottayam Superintendent of Police C Rajagopal said.

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from undisclosed location a few days ago, Dharmarajan, who has gone into hiding after jumping bail, had alleged that Kurien was involved in the case as charged by the victim.

After that, the special team of police personnel from Kottyam was set up to trace and arrest Dharmarajan, who had claimed in the TV interview that he was speaking from somewhere near Mysore.

The case pertains to the alleged abduction and rape of a 16 year-old from Suryanelli in Idukki district in 1996. She was forcibly taken to different places and allegedly raped by several men.

A special court which tried the case had in 2002 sentenced Dharmarajan to life imprisonment and 35 others to varying terms. The High Court, however, acquitted the 35 people while remitting the life sentence of Dharmarajan to five years in 2005. He secured bail to file an appeal the same year but has been absconding since then.

Kurien is not part of the 35 accused but the victim had filed a private complaint later accusing him also of involvement in the sexual assault. However, Supreme Court had allowed a discharge petition by Kurien.

His name figured again in connection with the case recently after the victim wrote to her advocate to explore the possibility of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a fresh probe against him. Kurien has maintained he has been cleared of the charges by the apex court.

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