Suryanelli rape: HC had rejected three witnesses against Kurien

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Three persons had deposed before a magistrate court, where the victim of the Suryanelli serial rape had moved a private complaint against P J Kurien, that they had seen him at the guest house in Kumali, where the girl alleged she had been assaulted by the senior Congress leader among others.

However, on April 7, 2007, a single bench of justice K R Udayabhanu of the Kerala High Court had held that evidence given by these witnesses could not be considered reliable. The court was setting aside the proceedings that originated from the private complaint at the magistrate court at Perumedu court in Idukki in Kerala.

With the Supreme Court setting aside the High Court verdict acquitting 35 accused a couple of days ago, the case is back in focus. The victim has stuck to her stand that Kurien, who is the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, was among those who assaulted her.

In a letter to "the counsel appearing for the de-facto complainant/victim" on January 29, she requested him to explore the possibility of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court against the order which exonerated Kurien. The letter said every investigating officer was told that Kurien had allegedly assaulted her at the guest house but he was not chargesheeted. Hence, she said, she filed the private complaint.

Kurien dismissed the allegations, saying senior police officers had probed the case.

The three persons who had deposed in the magistrate's court had said that they were not questioned by the police. T C Rajappan, a social worker, stated that in the evening of February 19, 1996, he had seen Kurien along with advocate Dharmarajan, a prime accused in the case, at the guest house. Rajappan, who was at the guest house to meet someone, said that after Kurien entered the room, Dharmarajan locked it from outside. Later, Dharmarajan took him back.

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