The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by the victim of the 1996 Suryanelli rape case to make Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien an accused in the case.

The woman approached the high court after her two complaints were dismissed by Peerumedu First Class Judicial Magistrate’s Court and a sessions court rejected her plea for a fresh inquiry and to include Kurien in the case.

Her plea came after the sole convict in the case, V. Dharmarajan, told a Malayalam channel that he had taken Kurien in his car to a guest house in Kumily where he allegedly raped the girl.

Dharmarajan, who jumped bail several years ago, was living in Karnataka in the guise of a farmer. He was arrested following his interview. But he retracted from his statement on May 28 this year in an affidavit filed before the court.

He claimed he made the disclosure in an inebriated state and had never met Kurien in his life.

The retraction affected the prospects of the victim’s plea to launch a fresh probe into the case.

The victim had first made allegations against P.J. Kurien, then a union minister, in a letter to A.K. Antony, the then Kerala chief minister, in 1996.

She said she recognised Kurien after seeing his photo in a newspaper and said he was one of the men who raped her at Kumili guest house.

But Kurien always maintained that the complaint was the result of a mistaken identity.

The Suryanelli case pertains to the abduction and gangrape of a 16-year-old in January 1996 in Kerala.

The girl was sexually abused for 40 days. She was subjected to rape 67 times by 37 people and gangraped 49 times.

Though 35 people were convicted and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by special court in 2000, they were acquitted by a division bench of the Kerala High Court in 2005.

However, after the Delhi gangrape incident on December 16, 2012, the Supreme Court had set aside the acquittals and asked the high court to hear the case afresh in January.

The apex court had also expressed shock over the high court’s verdict to set free the accused.

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