PJ Kurien gets notice in Suryanelli case revision petition

The victim in the infamous Suryanelli serial rape case scored a slight victory today after a district sessions court in Kerala differed with a lower court’s decision that a new case cannot be filed against Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien.

In light of new revelations and proof dug up by the Malayalam media, the girl had first approached a First Class Judicial Magistrate near her home a month ago with the same plea.

However, the Judge refused to accept the case, saying he did not consider the new revelations to be fresh evidence. In her review petition, the girl alleged that the way her case was rejected was not in keeping with the law.

However, the Thodupuzha Sessions Court accepted her petition today, and sent notices to PJ Kurien and three others, seeking their response.

In her original petition before the Magistrate, the girl had pointed out that Advocate Dharmarajan, who has been convicted for trafficking the girl from place to place, had given an interview to Mathrubhumi news channel that PJ Kurien was taken to the Kumili guest house — where the girl was also brought — in his Ambassador car.

Other evidences were also unearthed by the media in Kerala, including TV channels like Reporter, Indiavision and Asianet. They included a statement by the wife of a friend of Kurien’s that the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman was not present in her house through the major part of the evening when the alleged incident took place.

Her deceased husband had told the police that Kurien was present at his house for several hours in the evening, giving Kurien an alibi to disprove the allegation that he was at the Kumili guest house.

Other revelations included a recorded statement in which a local political leader was allegedly confessing to supplying false witnesses to shore up Kurien’s case and provide him with alibis. The media also tracked down alleged witnesses to Kurien’s presence in Kumili on the date on which the crime is alleged to have been committed.

One of the members of the case investigation team also appeared on TV raising questions about the neutrality of the lead investigating officer.

However, the Magistrate dismissed the girl’s petition, forcing her to approach the Sessions court. Besides Kurien, the court has sent notices to Advocate Dharmarajan, the government of Kerala and two other accused, Unnikrishnan and Jamal.

Kurien, a prominent Congress Party politician, has found support from across the political spectrum, including from the opposition party the Bhartiya Janatha Party or BJP.