As pressure mounted for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien’s resignation in connection with allegations against him in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case, the Congress came to his defence, saying the higher judiciary had given him a clean chit.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said the party was not shielding anyone, adding that Kurien’s name had been cleared by higher judicial authorities and they were not in a position to question that.
“There was an investigation and Kurien was given a clean chit: public sentiment cannot change what the court has said,” she said.
Asked whether Kurien should resign on moral grounds, Renuka said: “We don’t have the luxury to indulge in this. We still have to go to judicial system.”
The Congress, therefore, has pushed the ball to the courts.
Under pressure, Kurien sought an appointment to meet Sonia Gandhi. The backdrop was the Suryanelli victim’s mother seeking her intervention so that further investigations in the case can take place. However, Sonia is unlikely to meet him.
Meanwhile, Kurien ruled out the possibility of resigning from the post, insisting that he is “innocent” and termed the allegations as “politically motivated”.
“I have been cleared by the highest court of the land legally and morally,” he said.
Kurien said the controversy has come up “perhaps under the misunderstanding that I am an accused in the main case where 36 accused have been acquitted by the (Kerala) High Court. But I am not an accused (in that case) at all.”
This defence came after a livid Congress top brass instructed him to either clear the air or make way.