Tape shows ‘witness’ lied about date he met Kurien

FP

A taped conversation has surfaced indicating that the witness in the P J Kurien case who recently retracted his alibi to him had lied about the date he met the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman.

In the conversation, recorded on a mobile phone, a man purportedly local Congress leader Charli Abraham says he and BJP leader K S Rajan had met Kurien at Thiruvalla on February 18, 1996.

Both had earlier testified meeting Kurien there on the evening of February 19, 1996, between 7 and 8 pm. The Suryanelli victim alleges she was raped by Kurien at a guesthouse in Kumali in Idukki district that night, and Kurien's defence has been that he was far away from Kumali, at Thiruvalla and Changanassery.

In a statement retracting his testimony recently, Rajan had said that while they met Kurien at Thiruvalla on February 19, it was earlier that evening, around 5 pm.

In the three-minute phone recording, "Abraham" said Rajan and he had met Kurien in Thiruvalla on February 18 but changed it to February 19 in their testimony. "Since I am a Congress leader, my statement would not have credibility. Hence Rajan, a BJP leader, was made the witness. Kurien offered money to Rajen for giving statement favourable to him, but Rajan refused it," Abraham said.

The conversation was recorded by P K Dileep Kumar, a director of a cooperative bank in which Abraham is the president, last April. Rajan is a director in the same bank.

Abraham denied the conversation, but Kumar said the tape could be subjected to scientific examination to prove "Abraham's role". "I am ready to hand over the conversation to the police," he said. Kumar claimed he recorded the conversation with Abraham on bank matters so as to have proof of their close links. "The Suryanelli issue came in accidentally."

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