A major development in the case: experts

The Sessions Court, Thodupuzha, on Wednesday admitted a petition moved by the Suryanelli rape victim and ordered issue of notice to Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, which legal and media critics say is a major development in the case. The victim filed a review petition to include Mr. Kurien’s name on the list of accused on the basis of revelations made by S.S. Dharmarajan, third accused in the case.

The Peerumade Judicial First Class Magistrate Court had earlier rejected the victim’s petition for a fresh inquiry in the case on March 2.

Terming this a major development, Sebastian Paul, former MP and media critic, said the grounds on which the High Court had accepted Mr. Kurien’s discharge petition against a private complaint lodged by the victim in 2007 was no longer valid after the Supreme Court set aside the High Court verdict.

The present move by the court meant that there was prima facie evidence against Mr. Kurien and four others, on whom notices were to be issued, Mr. Paul said.

Sessions Court judge K. Abraham Mathew served notice on the State government, P.K.Jamal, Unnikrishnan Nair and Dharmarajan, besides Mr. Kurien.

The Additional Sessions (Special) Court, Kottayam, had sentenced Jamal (third accused) and Unnikrishnan Nair (sixth accused) to 13 years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.20,000 each on them.

They were later acquitted by the High Court.

In the light of the changed circumstances, Mr. Kurien may not find it easy to bypass the legal procedure as he did last time, said A. Jayasankar, media critic and advocate at the Kerala High Court.

The private petition filed by the victim being turned down earlier would have no impact on the new prosecution process that had been sought, he said.

A.J. Wilson, counsel for the victim at the Thodupuzha Sessions Court, said the revision petition was filed as revelations made by Dharmarajan through the media, while he was in hiding, about Mr. Kurien’s involvement in the case could be treated as fresh evidence.

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