New Delhi, Feb 26: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien need not resign as the police gave him a clean chit in the Suryanelli rape case after inquiries and he was also exonerated by the courts, the government stated on Tuesday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told the Rajya Sabha that a section of media and some politicians "have sought to drag" Kurien into the case. "It has emphatically been stated that he has never been accused in the Suryanelli rape case," the minister said.
Left MPs were not convinced by his defense and walked out of the Upper House. "Let him (Kurien) come and defend," CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said. "The executive is violating centrality of the Constitution by defending an officer of the legislature," he argued.
Nath pointed out that the chairman had asked him to make the statement. Recounting how the FIR in the case was filed, he noted that police had cleared Kurien of the charges levelled by the Suryanelli rape survivor.
However, opposition parties still feel that Kurien should not be in the chair especially when the Rajya Sabha takes up the anti-rape bill for discussion shortly.
Contending that the allegations against him are baseless, Kurien has rejected the calls for his resignation. Nevertheless, the rape survivor has urged Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to include Kurien among the accused in the case.
She said that the Congress leader sexually exploited her exactly 17 years ago. Her claim was corroborated by a lawyer whom the trial court had found guilty of selling a minor girl for purposes of prostitution.
According to SS Dharmarajan, Kurien was transported in his white Ambassador car from Vandiperiyar to the Kumily guest house wherein the girl was confined on Feb 19, 1996. The lawyer averred that Kurien remained closeted with the girl for nearly 30 minutes.
After Dharmarajan made this revelation, MLAs belonging to the Left parties staged protests in the Kerala Assembly and demanded that the Congress high command remove Kurien from the high post.