Kurien writes to Sonia, Ansari; clarifies stand

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien has written separate letters to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Hamid Ansari, Chairman of the Upper House, explaining his position on the Suryanelli rape case.

Kurien apparently wanted to meet Gandhi in person but could not get an appointment. He was learned to have stated in the letter that all allegations against him were cooked up and politically motivated. He denied any involvement in the 17-year-old case, contending that various courts had already exonerated him.

He also questioned the timing of the fresh allegations and alleged political conspiracy behind the turn of events. Kurien added that nothing had come out against him in the last 17 years, despite opposition parties forming the government. He was learnt to have given similar clarifications in the letter to Ansari. Sources said Kurien also marked a copy of the letter for Sonia Gandhi to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Although Kurien enjoys support of many of his party colleagues, the growing clamour for his resignation as the deputy-chairman has put the Congress in a bind. The Congress came under pressure after the BJP central leadership on Tuesday decided to pitch for action against Kurien after a meeting with some state leaders here.

“New revelations everyday in the Suryanelli rape case has made P J Kurien’s position as the deputy-chairman of the Rajya Sabha untenable. The BJP, after consulting its state unit, demands that on moral grounds he should quit office till he is absolved of the charges,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters here.  Senior BJP leader M M Joshi had earlier said: “At present, we don’t think it is fair to demand his resignation, but of course he should if the court reconsiders the case.’’

The Congress continues to be non-committal on the issue. While some party leaders defended Kurien, others admitted that his position was gradually becoming shaky. “Let us see what happens. It will be discussed and resolved,” said a senior party leader.

Special team set up to trace convict

The Kerala Police have set up a special team to trace and arrest the absconding convict in the Suryanelli gang-rape case, who appeared on a Malayalam TV channel alleging that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien was involved in the case as claimed by the victim. The four-member team has left for Karnataka from where Dharmarajan purportedly gave the interview to the channel and made the claim.

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