Court issues notice to PJ Kurien in Suryanelli case

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PJ Kurien
Kochi, Mar 27: A court in Idukki district of Kerala has taken cognisance of the complaint filed by the Suryanelli rape victim against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien. On Wednesday, the District and Sessions Court in Thodupuzha ordered issue of notices to the Congress leader, three of the accused in the case and the state government.

Citing the recent revelations about Kurien's involvement in the case, the victim had earlier this month urged the Peerumedu Magistrate Court to issue a direction to the Kumily Police to register a First Investigation Report (FIR) naming him. However, the court rejected her plea on Mar 2.

The victim, whom Kurien had allegedly exploited 17 years ago while she was still a minor, submitted a criminal revision petition to the District and Sessions Court. It was accepted on Wednesday. The judge, Abraham Mathew, also ordered a lawyer SS Dharmarajan who has been convicted in the sensational rape case to appear on May 29 when the court will next hear the matter.

Last month, Dharmarajan revealed  that he had accompanied Kurien to the Kumily Panchayat Rest House wherein the victim was confined on Feb 19, 1996. In his interview with a Malayalam new channel, the lawyer recounted how he and the then Union Minister for Industries travelled in a white car from Vandiperiyar to Kumily on that particular evening.

Dharmarajan told Mathrubhumi that two of his associates, Jamal and Unnikrishnan, followed them in another car. Kurien entered the victim's room in the rest house around 6.30 p.m and only emerged from it 30 minutes later, Dharmarajan averred.

Kurien has all along maintained that he was visiting an acquaintance PK Idiculla in Tiruvalla that day and did not go to Kumily at all. However, Idiculla's wife said that Kurien left their home around 5.15 p.m on Feb 19, 1996.

Incidentally, three other persons corroborated Dharmarajan's averment. A social worker TC Rajappan told the Judicial First Class Magistrate that he had seen both Kurien and the lawyer at the Kumily Panchayat Rest House on the evening of Feb 19, 1996. A painter C Poulose and a headload worker Kunjukutty also claimed to have seen Kurien reach the rest house on that evening.

Due to some reason, investigators did not believe these witnesses and gave a clean chit to Kurien. Now that the Thodupuzha court has accepted the victim's revision petition, the onus is on the Kerala Police to look into the evidence presented so far including Dharmarajan's revelations which have put Kurien in a tight spot after all these years.

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