New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson and Congress MP PJ Kurien on Friday ruled out his resignation following allegations of his involvement in the 1996 Suryanelli gangrape case. Speaking to CNN-IBN the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson said, "There is no question of stepping down from my position."
Kurien also claimed that he had never asked for any appointment from Congress President Sonia Gandhi and so there was no question of being denied. "My conscience is clear; I have nothing to worry about. The girl is being used by my political opponents to settle political scores," said Kurien. "Courts of the country have given me a clean chit. Why should I be bothered about allegations?" he added.
He made the statements even as sources said that Congress leadership has questioned the timing of the fresh charges against Kurien. Pressure has been growing on Sonia to act against Kurien after the Suryanelli rape victim's mother wrote to her on Thursday asking her to intervene in the interest of justice for her daughter. However, sources said that Congress leadership has questioned the timing of the fresh charges against Kurien.
Adding to the Congress's woes, key witness KS Rajan, whose testimony was crucial to Kurien's acquittal, has retracted his statement. Rajan has now said that his statement that placed Kurien away from the scene of the rape was not recorded correctly. "My friends took me to the bank and very casually asked if I had not met him there or not on that day. I said yes, which is all I said, nothing to protect him," Rajan said.
In her letter faxed to Sonia, with a copy to AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi, the victim's mother expressed anguish over the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala refusing to order further investigation in Kurien's alleged involvement in the case. Striking an emotional note, the girl's mother hoped that being a mother herself the Congress President would understand the plight of the victim's family.
Kurien was acquitted in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case, but the gangrape victim has named him as one of the men who assaulted her in 1996. The Suryanelli rape survivor sent a letter to the Supreme Court last week, asking for a review of the apex court's order quashing all charges against Kurien.
The allegations against Kurien have also been stalling the Kerala Assembly. The Left led opposition in Kerala has begun a campaign for a reinvestigation into Kurien's role following the Supreme Court quashing the High Court's acquittal of all the accused. Kurien, however, has been maintaining that he has never been indicted by any court.
was accused and later acquitted by courts for his alleged role in the Suryanelli gangrape of 1996. The Supreme Court had last week set aside the Kerala High Court verdict in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case that had acquitted 36 accused. The apex court remanded the gangrape case of the teenaged girl back to the Kerala High Court asking it to take a fresh look at it.
All the accused on bail were directed by the Supreme Court to secure fresh bail from the Kerala High Court. The Supreme Court also expressed shock over the findings of the Kerala HC that the victim was a willing partner.
In 1996, in Suryanelli, bordering the tea gardens of Munnar, a teenaged girl was raped by over 42 men including a bus conductor and many others. Faced with ostracisation, the victim's family had to leave the village.