The government of Kerala again refused to order a new investigation into the role of Rajya Sabha chairman PJ Kurien in the Suryanelli case after CP Ramaraja Prema Prasad, secretary in the law ministry, said the new revelations do not justify a new inquiry.
“Factually or legally, there are no sufficient grounds to order further or fresh investigation by the government on the basis of the present request,” Kerala’s secretary in the law ministry,
However, the government has sent an investigation team to Mysore to nab Dharmarajan, who gave an interview on Monday accusing Kurien of being involved in the scandal.
Prasad’s opinion comes close on the heels of a similar recommendation by the director of prosecutions in the Kerala government.
The Oommen Chandy government, meanwhile, sent a team to Mysore to interrogate the journalist of Mathrobhoomi daily who interviewed Dharmarajan, the only person whose conviction was upheld by the Kerala High Court in 2005, and to track the convict down.
Dharmarajan had jumped bail, and was living on the run. He came into the headlines again on Monday when a Mathrubhoomi reporter tracked him down to Mysore. In an explosive interview with the channel, Dharmarajan, who was convicted of sex trafficking in the case, said that he had personally taken Kurien to the Kumili panchayat guest house when the girl was held in captivity there.
The last two weeks have seen several witnesses, who had earlier vouched for Kurien, change their stance or claim that their statements were misrecorded by the police. The Supreme Court has also asked the Kerala High Court to hear the case again.
According to the case, a 16-year-old girl was sexually harassed and assaulted continuously for 40 days by 42 men in 1996. The girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district of Kerala in India was transported from place to place across Kerala.
The accused included some well-known and well-placed individuals.
The girl was enticed, threatened, abducted and sexually exploited by a bus conductor on January 16, 1996.
It is alleged that the girl was terrorized and threatened with dire consequences to gain her co-operation in the prostitution operation. However, the Kerala High Court had dismissed the case against the 42 men, raising doubts about the girl’s character, and questioning why she did not try to run away from her alleged captors.
Though convicted by the trial court, the Kerala High Court let off all but 1 of the nearly three dozen accused in the case, pointing to the possibility that the case was one of prostitution and not rape.