The Kerala high court on Monday adjourned to March four the hearing of the bail pleas of 17 accused in the Suryanelli rape case allegedly involving Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien.
A division bench comprising Justices K T Shankaran and M L Joseph Francis said the appeal and records about the case had not been received from the Supreme Court and it cannot proceed without perusing them, even though the accused wanted their pleas to be taken up on Monday.
According to the accused, the apex court had not gone into the merits of the case and judgement was on technical grounds. The accused, who had been convicted and sentenced by the sessions court, are among the 35 acquitted by a division bench of the high court in 2005.
However, the Supreme Court had however recently set aside the acquittals and asked them to surrender before the special court hearing the case.
First accused Rajan and fifth accused Cherian are among those who have moved for bail maintaining there was no material against them to prove the charges.
Dharmarajan, the third accused, who had jumped bail, had recently been arrested from Karnataka and sent to jail. The high court had reduced his life term to five years. Following the Supreme Court judgement, Dharmarajan has to undergo the rest of his prison term.
The case relates to a 16-year-old girl who was abducted in 1996 and taken to to various places and sexually exploited.
Kurien was acquitted but the victim had recently named him as one of those who allegedly assaulted her in 1996.
The victim had also sent a letter to her advocate seeking to explore the possibility of filing a review plea in the Supreme Court for a fresh probe against Kurien, who according to the victim, had raped her at the Kumily guest house on February 9, 1996.
Kurien has maintained that he had been cleared of the charges by the apex court.