Even as the Suryanelli sex scandal continues to rock the political scene in Kerala with the Opposition disrupting proceedings in the Kerala Assembly regularly over the past one week, the victim’s mother has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking her personal intervention in the investigation into the ‘involvement’ of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P.J. Kurien in the rape case.
In a letter dated February 7, seeking to invoke maternal sentiments in Ms. Gandhi — who is also ‘the mother of a daughter of the same age’ as the victim, — she said that the girl had, during the early stages of probe, told the investigating officers that Mr. Kurien also had raped her. “But the officers did not pay any heed,” she said.
The Sooryanelli sex scandal had exploded onto the political scene following the Supreme Court decision to annul the acquittals of 34 of the 35 accused and its directive to the Kerala High Court to consider the case afresh.
Mr. Kurien’s alleged role had come to the fore once again after the victim wrote to her counsel in the Supreme Court, enquiring whether her charges against Mr. Kurien could be revived. The State Opposition has been on the offensive ever since, pushing for a reinvestigation of the case and demanding Mr. Kurien’s resignation from the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman.
The UDF government led by Oommen Chandy had taken the stand that there was nothing new in the girl’s statement. The letter says that “most of the investigating officials had advised us to spare Mr. Kurien since that would have adversely affected our case. But my child still stands by her word,” the mother said.
It was the investigating team’s decision to exempt Mr. Kurien from the charge sheet that had prompted them to file a private complaint under Section 376 (Rape) of the Indian Penal Code before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Peermade. She pointed out that the High Court, when it had subsequently allowed the criminal revision petition filed by Mr. Kurien in the case, did not issue notice to her daughter though she had by then turned a major. The SLP filed by the State government in the Supreme Court against the discharge was also dismissed.
“We believe that Mr. Kurien has exerted undue influence over the investigating officials in order to escape from law and he has succeeded in that,” the letter said. The mother expressed her suspicion that the inertia on the part of Mr. Chandy and Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan was owing to political compulsions.
‘How can he chair ordinance session?’
The mother says it was heartbreaking to learn that the party high command had decided to support Mr. Kurien in the matter. She wondered “how Mr. Kurien could chair the session when the ordinance aiming [for] the emancipation of womanhood in India — promulgated with regard to the prevention of sexual atrocities against women — had come up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha.”