Suryanelli Rape: Former Probe Official Backs Kurien

Former Investigating Officer in the Suriyanelli gangrape case K Ittoop today backed Rajya Sabha Deputy chairman P J Kurien, saying he was not involved in the infamous case that continues to haunt the Congress politician since the past 17 years.

Ittoop, who headed the investigation team in the case before Sibi Mathews took over, told reporters here that Kurien was not involved in the case.

The former Superintendent of Police, who was removed from the team when the CPI(M) led LDF government headed by E K Nayanar was in power, claimed it was done after he allegedly refused to implicate Kurien in the case.

Ittoop, who now resides in Udupi, said he had conducted a "thorough and honest" investigation in the case.

Kurien had never visited the Kumily guest house on Feb 19, 1996 as alleged by the victim, Ittoop said, adding, he had made a thorough probe in this regard.

He alleged that investigations had revealed that the victim was not speaking the truth, but was being 'prompted' by someone else.

When Ittoop was returning after the press meet at the press club here, some activists of All India Youth Front (AIYF), youth wing of CPI, blocked his car. Four of them were taken into custody by police.

Kurien has all along rejected the charge and opposition's demand for his resignation, saying it was a matter which had already been cleared by the Supreme Court.

The girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district was abducted in January 1996 and transported from place to place across Kerala and sexually exploited by different persons.

She had sent a letter to the Supreme Court last week, seeking a review of the Apex Court's order quashing all charges against Kurien. 

Meanwhile, Kerala High Court Advocates Association criticised the media and politicians for levelling 'malicious' charges against former Judge R Basant, who courted controversy over his remarks against the victim in the case.

The association passed a resolution in this regard at its Extra ordinary General body Meeting here, which was supported by a majority of the lawyers.

Justice Basant along with Justice K A Abdul Gaffoor had delivered the judgement in the case in 2005 acquitting 35 accused and upheld the sentence of one accused, Dharmarajan. The Supreme court had recently quashed the acquittal.

A TV channel had some days back aired footage of a private conversation with Justice Basant in which he stated that the victim of the Suryanelli case was used for child prostitution, which was not rape.

The remarks drew widespread protests in Kerala, with DYFI, Yuva Morcha and women's organisations protesting and burning Justice Basant's effigies in various parts of the state.

Most of the advocates criticised the channel for using a hidden camera and recording a private conversation.

The General Body came down on the stand of the media and political leaders for passing 'derogatory' remarks against Justice Basant.

Meanwhile, Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Ernakulam district committee and Ernakulam Press club criticised the 'manhandling' of Ittoop by AIYF activists.

They have also filed a police complaint.

Ittoop, who had come to the press club to address a press meet on the Suriyanelli case was allegedly manhandled by AIYF activists as he was returning.

Ernakulam Press club President Abdulla Mattancherry and secretary M S Sajivan condemned the incident.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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