In a relief to Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien, the sessions court in Thodupuzha (Idukki district) on Saturday rejected a petition filed by the Suryanelli sex scandal victim seeking to make the Congress leader an accused in the 17-year-old case.
The victim had moved the court after the sole convict in the case, Dharmarajan, claimed in an interview that he had taken Kurien in his car to the Kumily guesthouse where the girl was lodged.
However, the accused retracted his claim later saying that he was in an inebriated state when he talked to the media from his hideout. Absconding after he jumped parole a few years ago, Dharmarajan was later arrested from his hideout in Karnataka.
Soon after the interview came out there was a clamour for Kurien's resignation.
The victim had filed a private review petition on the basis of Dharmarajan's "revelation" that he had taken Kurien to the guesthouse.
However, sessions judge Abraham Mathew held that the victim's plea for inclusion of Kurien in the case was not maintainable.
The court held that Kurien was absolved of all charges earlier and there was no need to drag him further into the case based on the utterances of a convicted person. However the victim's counsel said he would move the high court against the verdict of the district court.
The 1996 sex scandal came to limelight again after the Supreme Court in January set aside the Kerala high court order acquitting all 35 accused in the case and directed it to hear the case afresh.
The case relates to the abduction and gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl from Suryanelli village in Idukki district.
The case took political colour after Kurien's name cropped up in connection with it.
Suryanelli case timeline
* One of the oldest sex scams in the state, it made news when several heavyweight's names cropped up
* A 16-year-old girl was sexually exploited by 42 men for 40 days in 1996
* She eloped with her lover but later landed in a sex racket
* Her tale came to light when she sought treatment for venereal diseases
* In 1999 a special team was formed under IG Sibi Mathews
* In 2000 a special court sentenced 35 accused to RI for different terms
* In 2005 Kerala HC acquitted all except first accused Dharmarajan, an advocate
* In 2006 the girl was given a class four employee's job by the government
* On February 6, 2012 the victim was arrested for financial embezzlement
* Activists cried foul, say she was fabricated since her case was coming up in SC
* This year, January SC turns down the HC verdict