In a new twist to the Suryanelli rape case, a local BJP leader today alleged his statement was wrongly recorded by investigators benefiting Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P K Kurien who is facing heat on the issue as protests continued with calls for his exit.
However, Kurien has virtually ruled out resignation as RS Deputy Chairman.
"I have been absolutely cleared by the highest court of the land legally and morally. To my conscience, I am an innocent person.
"Can an innocent person be asked to step down because of allegations? Stepping down would amount to making me admit myself indirectly to the crime," he told
PTI when asked whether he would resign against the backdrop of a political uproar over the case.
BJP State Secretary, K S Rajan, whose testimony to the police had helped Kurien to get cleared of the charge against him levelled by the victim, told a press meet in Kozhikode that what the police submitted in the court as his statement was different from what he had actually said.
Rajan, along with whom BJP state President V Muraleedharan was also present, said he would initiate legal action against former ADGP Sibi Mathews who had headed the team that probed the 1996 case.
He alleged Mathews, now Chief Information Commissioner in the state, had altered the time at which he had seen
Kurien, as mentioned in his statement, in Tiruvalla at the house of one Idikkula on the day he had allegedly molested the girl in a guest house at Kumali in Idukki district.
While the youth and women outfits of the Left and the BJP kept up their protests demanding Kurien's resignation and re-investigation into his alleged involvement in the case, the state leadership of Congress rallied behind Kurien once again denouncing the campaign against him.
BJP's women wing Mahila Morcha members marched to Kurien's residence at Vennikkulam in Pathanamthitta District demanding his removal from the Rajya Sabha post.
State BJP leaders, who joined the clamour for Kurien's resignation right from the day the victim reiterated her charge last week, said they were confident that the party's national leadership would not shield Kurien by taking a sharply divergent stand from that of Kerala unit.
KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala affirmed that the party in Kerala was solidly behind Kurien who has been exonerated of the charge by the apex court.
He dubbed the campaign unleashed by CPI(M) as a "mere political gimmick" as they are "devoid of other issues."
"The state leadership sill remains solidly behind Kurien. Congress and UDF coalition will resist the campaign against him," Chennithala said in
The case related to sexual exploitation of the girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district by different persons in January, 1996 after she was abducted and transported from place to place across Kerala and sexually exploited by different persons.
Kurien's name figured again in connection with the case after the victim wrote to her advocate on January 29 to explore the possibility of filing a review petition, seeking a fresh probe against him.
The victim's mother had yesterday petitioned Congress President Sonia Gandhi to ensure that Kurien does not chair the Rajya Sabha when the Bill on sexual violence against women comes up for debate.
CPI(M) youth outfit DYFI today wrote to Vice-President Hamid Ansari to remove Kurien as Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha before parliament begins its session later this month.
Stating this at a press meet here, DYFI National President M B Rajesh, MP, said the youth outfit would hold a march to Parliament on February 21 if Kurien did not step down on his own or is removed from the post by his party by then.
Inaugurating the march, Mahila Morcha state president Sobha Surendran urged Defence Minister A K Antony to clarify his stand on the repeated assertion of the victim that Kurien was involved in the case.
"We are keen to hear the moral position of Antony on the issue," she said.
The Mahila Morcha leader also demanded that Kurien be subjected to scientific examination to bring out the truth in the light of the charge against him by the victim.