Saturday, February 16, 2013

Achuthanandan visits family of Suryanelli gang-rape victim

KOTTAYAM: CPI-M veteran and Opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly VS Achuthanandan on Saturday called on the family of the Suryanelli sex case victim at her home near here.

After a brief visit, Achuthanandan told reporters that if necessary he would extend all possible help to the family in pursuing the case legally.

Asked if he would move the court for a re-investigation against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien in the wake of the victim's new revelation, Achuthanandan said it would be decided in consultation with legal experts.

CPI-M led LDF Opposition had demanded a reinvestigation into Kurien's alleged involvement.

Achuthanandan, who spent about 20 minutes with the victim and her family, enquired about the health of the girl's father who has been ailing for long.

However, he said he had come to the house not to discuss the case. "I did not come to discuss the case. As for any legal steps I might take, I would first seek legal advice", he said.

The case pertains to the alleged abduction and rape of a 16-year-old from Suryanelli in Idukki district in 1996. She was forcibly taken to different places and allegedly raped by several men.

A special court which tried the case had in 2002 sentenced absconding convict Dharmarajan to life and 35 others to varying terms. The High Court, however, acquitted them while remitting Dharmarajan's life sentence to five years in 2005. He secured bail to file an appeal the same year and was absconding since then, but was arrested yesterday.

Kurien is not part of the 35 accused but the victim had filed a private complaint later accusing him also of involvement in the sexual assault. However, Supreme Court had allowed a discharge petition by Kurien.

His name figured again in connection with the case recently after the victim wrote to her lawyer to explore the possibility of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a fresh probe against him. Kurien has maintained he has been cleared of the charges by the Apex Court.

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