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Feb 08, 2013 at 01:39pm IST

Suryanelli rape case: More trouble for Kurien as key witness retracts statement

New Delhi: There has been a dramatic twist in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case in which Deputy Rajya Sabha Chairman PJ Kurien has been implicated. KS Rajan, a key witness whose testimony was key to Kurien's acquittal, has now 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.

Meanwhile, PJ Kurien has sought time to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The attempt to meet Sonia Gandhi comes hours after the Suryanelli rape victim's mother wrote to Sonia asking her to intervene in the interest of justice for her daughter.

ALSO SEE Kurien seeks appointment with Sonia as demand for his removal over Suryanelli rape case grows

The gangrape victim has named PJ Kurien as one of the men who assaulted her in 1996. Kurien has said he is a victim of political conspiracy.

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.

Earlier on Thursday, the Left Front also alleged that its women MLAs were beaten up by the police when they protested against Kurien.

Reacting to the developments, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said government has an open mind on the issue and would take a decision on Opposition's demand after getting legal opinion. "Government has sought legal opinion on whether it can reopen a case discharged by the Supreme Court. Government is yet to get legal advice on it," Radhakrishnan said.

The deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, PJ Kurien, was accused and later acquitted by courts for his alleged role in the Suryanelli gangrape of 1996.