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Rape convict claims Kurien was involved

The Congress leadership came under fresh pressure to remove P J Kurien as deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha following the Supreme Court ordering the reopening of the 17-year-old Suryanelli sex scandal case.

According to an agency report from Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday, an accused who served a jail sentence in the case claimed that Kurien was present at the guest house where the victim was exploited. ‘Kurien, in fact, travelled in my ambassador car to the Kumily guest house. Why would I tell a lie?’ Dharmarajan told a TV channel at an undisclosed location in Mysore.

He added that the then investigation official and present State Information Commissioner Siby Mathew had prevailed upon him to not name Kurien in the case. A lawyer by profession, Dharmarajan was the only accused convicted by the Kerala High Court in 2005 while it cleared 34 others earlier held guilty by a special court that conducted trial in the case in the late 1990s. After serving a brief jail term, Dharmarajan was freed on bail but never returned to jail.

His whereabouts were unknown till he made this revelation to a TV channel here. He also said that he would surrender in the next few days.

‘He could have said all this in the court. But now he says this to escape punishment in the case,’ Mathew responded to the fresh allegations made by Dharmarajan.

Meanwhile in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit on Monday said, ‘All courts, including Supreme Court, has taken into cognisance and whatever evidence are there should be submitted to the court. We don’t want to comment on that. Let this new evidence be examined by court and whatever they decide we will accept that.’ When being asked about his colleague PC Chacko’s statement that the decision on Kurien will be taken before the budget session, Dikshit said that whatever Chacko said is his personal opinion.

The BJP meanwhile found itself in a dilemma over the stance to be taken regarding the issue. While the state unit of the party has been aggressively demanding that Kurien should step down from his post, the central leadership has been soft on the issue. On Monday, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedkar said the party was getting inputs from state unit and he will be able to comment only on Tuesday. Even senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi in the past had said that Kurein does not need to resign from his post.
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