Kurien issue rocks Kerala Assembly

The first day of the Kerala Assembly’s Budget Session on Monday ended in pandemonium, following a clamour over Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s statement that the role of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien in the Suryanelli sex scandal “cannot be probed again.”

Speaker G Karthikeyan adjourned the House after rushing through the business.

Opposing the motion moved by CPM leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan seeking to discuss the issue over all other business, Chandy reiterated his government’s stand that the country’s legal system did not permit investigating the case again, since Kurien was exonerated by the Supreme Court.

Enraged by Chandy’s statement,  Opposition members rushed to the well, shouting slogans against the government. Four members even landed up at the Speaker’s podium. As the ruckus continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan later said the government’s position was against the spirit of the ordinance on sexual crime against women, which was signed by President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday. The ordinance had a provision that the victim’s deposition in rape cases should be given due importance.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan also said the case, once rejected by the court, could not be reinvestigated.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said the Centre had nothing more to say, apart from Chandy’s statement.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to remain silent on the issue. Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party would  announce its stand after going through the issue. However, in Kerala, the party is in a fix. State secretary K S Rajan had made statements in favour of Kurien during the investigation of the case.

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