Suryanelli: Hunt on for absconding convict who implicated P J Kurien

Kerala Rape Case

The Kerala Police has set up a special team to trace and arrest the absconding convict in the Suryanelli gangrape case, who appeared on a Malayalam TV channel alleging that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien was involved, as claimed by the victim.

The four-member team left for Karnataka from where Dharmarajan purportedly gave the interview to the channel yesterday and made the startling claim. The task entrusted with the team would be coordinated by 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 guesthouse in Kumali, where the girl alleged she was molested. He claimed he was under pressure from the chief investigator not to mention Kurien's name. Kurien, however, rubbished Dharmarajan's charge, holding that the statement of a convict has no legal validity.

"Every accused gets a chance to make a statement before the judge. He did not say this at that time. You (media) find out why he is making this claim now," Kurien has said.

Kurien was acquitted in the case but the victim has recently named him as one of those who assaulted her in 1996. She sent a letter to the Supreme Court last week, seeking a review of the apex court's order quashing all charges against Kurien.

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