Kerala government to reopen Kothamangalam sex case

Kerala government to reopen Kothamangalam sex case

Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Tuesday that in the wake of new revelations against the former minister, the Kothamanagalam sex case would again be looked into.

Former UDF minister and Indian Union Muslim Leader P.K. Kunhalikutty, who was involved in the ice cream parlour sex scandal case, has again been accused of bribing the victim of the Kothamanagalam sex scandal of 1997 to get out of the case.

The case involves a minor girl from Kothamangalam who was allegedly sexually abused by several men over a long period. The fresh allegations against Kunhalikutty were raised Monday by his relative Rauf, who had earlier accused the leader of paying his way out of the sex scandal case, which was closed by the courts in 2006.

Rauf said Kunhalikutty tried to influence the priest of a prayer centre near Thrissur where the abuse victim used to go. Rauf also said he, along with Kunhalikutty, had met Father George Pannakal at the prayer centre.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Monday asked Balakrishnan to order a fresh probe into the case. Additional Director General of Police Vinson M. Paul has already taken statements from both Rauf and Kunhalikutty.  "We have expanded the team led by Paul by including Inspector General of Police R. Sreelekha to further investigate the case," said Balakrishnan.

The priest has denied Rauf's allegation and Tuesday sent him a legal notice through his counsel, seeking explanation. The minor victim in the case filed a complaint at the Kothamangalam police station Oct 5, 1997, alleging that she was "sexually exploited" by over 100 persons over a period of one year.

Police identified 43 of the accused and arrested seven, including the first accused.   The case, which has 138 persons in the list of accused, has been kept in the cold storage. The arrested first accused is now on bail.

The girl was later taken to the prayer centre near Thrissur after her physical and mental conditions worsened. Reacting to the latest development, state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala said in Delhi Tuesday that people in Kerala are not going to take all these "masala" news.

"The Left Front government is trying to make political gains ahead of the assembly polls," he said.

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