Separate statements of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in New Delhi and Finance and Law Minister K.M. Mani in the State capital have brought more clarity in the United Democratic Front (UDF) government’s stand related to Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien’s resignation over his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli sex scandal case.
Mr. Chandy reiterated that the State government did not propose to go for a re-investigation in the light of “fresh disclosures” in the case. The State government sought a second legal opinion on this, he said.
Mr. Mani, while defending Prof. Kurien, maintained that it was for the Congress party to take a call on whether he should be asked to resign and as a coalition partner, his party did not have anything to say on this.
He said that no new evidence had come up against Prof. Kurien since the Suryanelli case took place 17 years ago. According to Section 319 of the Cr.PC, only the courts can reopen a case that too only if there was new evidence. When asked about the recent statements made by some of the accused about Prof. Kurien’s involvement, Mr. Mani said the statement of an accused cannot be taken at its face value. Even if one were to take the new disclosures of the accused, it should be done with caution and on the basis of independent evidence, he said.
Prof. Kurien had been trying his best to avert a situation that might force his resignation. He met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Hamid Ansari during the last couple of days, besides personally coming out with further explanations about the Supreme Court verdict that had cleared him.
What Mr. Chandy did in Delhi was to reiterate the State government’s stand announced in the Assembly for the whole of last week when the issue was at its peak consequent to the spirited agitation by the Left parties and organisations. The proceedings of the House was stalled for most part of the week, with the government sticking to its stand that it could only function according to the law of the land, whether it was re-investigation of further investigation.
The Left parties and organisations had not given up their campaign, though the LDF appeared to have lost its momentum in the Assembly.
Ganesh Kumar issue
Mr. Mani, responding to a question on Kerala Congress (B)’s demand to drop its nominee from the Cabinet, said Mr. Ganesh Kumar was a good minister and he was not for his resignation.
However, the question of dropping him was an issue between the father and the son or the party and the nominee and as such was an internal issue of the Kerala Congress (B), he said.