BJP leader accuses him of misrepresenting his statement to save Kurien

Chief Information Commissioner Siby Mathews, who is in the midst of a controversy surrounding his actions while leading the investigation in the Suryanelli case, on Friday said he stood firm on his version.

Responding to allegations raised by BJP State secretary K.S. Rajan that his recorded statements had been altered, Mr. Mathews said the statements of all the key witnesses at Thiruvalla, including that of Mr. Rajan, had not been recorded by him but by Dy.SP. Prabhakaran Nair, who was a member of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

“Hence, there was no way I could have altered the time (when Mr. Rajan had reportedly met P.J. Kurien) as was being alleged. It is up to Mr. Nair to clarify his stance in allegations that are being levelled by Mr. Rajan,” Mr.Mathews said.

“Being an unnatural case, it involved questioning over 500 witnesses. Therefore, I had entrusted to the team members the responsibility of interrogating many among them and conducting related investigations. The statements were later verified and entered into the case diary by me. Meanwhile, I had interrogated those witnesses who were considered very important for the progress of the investigation,” he said.

Mr. Mathews said Mr. Rajan was free to pursue legal action in the matter and that he would produce the necessary documents when required.

Threatens legal action

Staff Reporter writes from Kozhikode: BJP State secretary K.S. Rajan has threatened to initiate legal proceedings against Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Siby Mathews for misrepresenting his statement to save Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien from the Suryanelli rape case.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Rajan, one of the witnesses, said that Mr. Mathews had changed the time of his meeting with Prof. Kurien from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the house of one Idicula in Thiruvalla on February 19, 1996.

Mr. Mathews, who headed the investigation in the Suryanelli sex scandal case, had decided to drop Prof. Kurien from the list of accused based on this distorted version. This was used by Prof. Kurien as an alibi to counter the allegations against him. The victim had alleged that Prof. Kurien had raped her at the Kumily guest house on that particular day.

Mr. Rajan said he had gone to the house of Mr. Idicula as part of deposit mobilisation for the Umayattukara Service Cooperative Bank along with Charlie Abraham, a Congress leader, on that day. Neither the BJP State leadership nor G. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary of the Nair Service Society, had put pressure on him to retract his statement, he said.

He feigned ignorance that the time mentioned in the statement recorded by investigators had been changed during the stages of the probe. He had not seriously given a thought to the issue at that time when Mr. Mathews interrogated him at the Thiruvalla guest house, Mr. Rajan said.

Meanwhile, BJP State president V. Muraleedaran, who was also present at the news conference, said that Prof. Kurien had no moral right to continue as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. There had been a concerted effort to sabotage the case. Mr. Mathews had told the victim that if she mentioned Prof. Kurien’s name, the case would be shelved, he said.

The party would also seek the removal of Mr. Mathews from the post of CIC in the wake of the allegations that he had distorted the statement of a witness in a case which he had investigated.

Replying to questions, Mr. Muraleedharan said the State unit of the party was not in disagreement with the Central leadership on the Suryanelli issue. The Central leadership had only stated that Prof. Kurien need not step down till a case was taken up against him. “We are asking the State government to order a fresh probe in the light of the emerging evidence,” he said.