TRIVANDRUM: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has asked Professor PJ Kurien, the deputy chairman of Upper House of parliament, to step down in view of the fresh developments in the 1996 Suryanelli sex scandal.
The Supreme Court had last month quashed the 2005 verdict of the high court bench headed by late Justice KA Abdul Gafour acquitting all but one of 36 convicts and ordered a retrial in the case in which a schoolgirl was abducted and abused by 42 men during 41 days of her captivity.
Though Kurien was identified by the girl as her tormentors during the course of investigations during the governments headed by AK Antony initially and later by the late CPI-M leader EK Nayanar could not find evidence to implicate him and he escaped trial on alibi defence.
The girl still insists that the Congress party leader, then a federal minister, raped her at the government guesthouse in the tourist town of Kumily on Feb.19, 1996, evening.
“It should be noted that Kurien had got the benefit of the flawed judgement of the high court when his petition not to be included as one of the accused was accepted in 2007.
“A reinvestigation is essential and Kurien should step down from his post of deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, till it is over,” the CPI-M politburo said in a statement on Sunday.
It accused the Kerala government of adopting double standards by not ordering a reinvestigation though it had ordered reinvestigation into two cases of murder involving CPI-M leaders “dating back decades, which had been decided through the judicial process including, in one of the cases, upto the Supreme Court.”
The party appeals to the Congress leadership to “view this matter in the proper perspective” and “it is not an issue being raised for party-political purposes” at a time the whole country is seriously concerned and agitated about the alarming rise in sexual crimes against women.
“Parliament is to discuss laws concerning sexual violence against women. At such a juncture, when a rape victim has leveled a serious charge against PJ Kurien and fresh evidence has come to light, will it be proper for him to continue in the post? It becomes incumbent for him to resign.
“If not, he should be removed from the post of deputy chairman,” it said.