Under attack over the Suryanelli rape case that has returned to haunt him, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien on Friday ruled out his resignation saying he is innocent.
"I have been absolutely cleared by the highest court of the land legally and morally. To my conscience, I am an innocent person."
"Can an innocent person be asked to step down because of allegations? Stepping down would amount to making me admit myself indirectly to the crime," he said when asked whether he would resign against the backdrop of a political uproar over the case.
Kurien said the current controversy and the demands for his prosecution in the case were "politically motivated" and is being used to "tarnish my image by my political adversaries".
"This 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 high court. The Supreme Court has cancelled acquittal and reverted the case back to the high court. I am not an accused at all," he said.
The allegation against him was raised in a private complaint during the 1996 elections on which he had written to the director general of police and the then chief minister AK Antony asking them to order an inquiry.
"Inspector general of police Rajivan who probed the case said it was a mistaken identity and said it was being pursued by political adversaries of Kurien," the Congress MP said, adding two more inquiries instituted during the left government tenure also "exonerated" him.