Kottayam: Dharmarajan, the absconding convict in the Suryanelli gangrape case who was arrested from Karnataka, was sent to the sub-jail in Kottayam by the District and Sessions Judge before whom he was produced on Saturday. The third accused in the 17-year-old case, Dharmarajan was arrested on Friday by a special team of Kerala Police, three days after his interview to a Malayalam TV channel from an undisclosed location, wherein he alleged that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien was involved in the case as charged by the victim.
The case pertains to the alleged abduction and rape of a 16-year-old from Suryanelli in Idukki district in 1996. She was forcibly taken to different places and allegedly raped by several men. A special court which tried the case had in 2002
sentenced Dharmarajan to life imprisonment and 35 others to varying terms. The High Court, however, acquitted the 35 people while remitting the life sentence of Dharmarajan to five years in 2005. He secured bail to file an appeal the same year but has been absconding since then.
Kurien is not part of the 35 accused but the victim had filed a private complaint later accusing him also of involvement in the sexual assault. However, Supreme Court had allowed a discharge petition by Kurien. His name figured again in connection with the case recently after the victim wrote to her advocate to explore the possibility of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a fresh probe against him. Kurien has maintained he has been cleared of the charges by the apex court.
Dharmarajan, in his TV interview, had claimed that the principal investigator in the case had pressured him not to mention about Kurien's involvement in the case. Kurien, however, rubbished Dharmarajan's charge, holding that the statement of a convict has no legal validity.