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Suryanelli rape case rocks Kerala assembly

Kerala Assembly was on Monday rocked by the issue of a complaint by the Suryanelli gangrape victim against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien with opposition LDF forcing its adjournment after government rejected their demand to re-investigate the 17-year-old case.

Placard-waving LDF members, led by slogan shouting women colleagues, rushed to the well, denouncing the government's stand that a fresh probe was not legally possible as the charge had already been inquired into and found baseless with the Supreme Court allowing Kurien's discharge petition in 2007.

In a hard-hitting speech, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said government's position went sharply against the spirit of the ordinance on sex crimes against women signed by President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday, which had a provision that the victim's deposition in rape cases should be given due prominence.

As LDF continued their protests, Speaker G Karthikeyan adjourned the house, rushing through the business. Earlier during zero hour, the house was adjourned for an hour amid opposition protests over the issue which it kept up after the house re-assembled.

Kurien's name figured again in the case after the victim wrote to her lawyer in Delhi on 29 Jan to explore the possibility of filing a review petition, seeking a fresh probe against him. She had also faxed a letter to Chandy on 2 Feb, seeking a fresh probe.

During zero hour, government rejected the opposition's demand for an adjournment on the matter, given notice by CPI(M) leader and former Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. Countering the opposition, Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan held the state Government could not comply with the demand as the complaint had been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The minister said when the SC allowed Kurien's discharge petition in 2007, LDF was in power and sought to know why the then govt had not filed a Special Leave Petition and chose to remain silent all these years.
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