In yet another twist to the nearly two-decade-old Suryanelli sex scandal, the lone convict in the case, Dharmarajan on Wednesday retracted his allegation that Congress leader and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien was involved in the case.
In an affidavit filed through his lawyer in the sessions court at Thodupuzha in Idukki district, Dharmarajan said he made the allegation as the reporter of a Malayalam TV channel barraged him with questions while he was hiding in a place near Mysore after jumping bail.
Dharmarajan, who surrendered in February last after absconding for several years, said he was not familiar with Kurien and he had seen his pictures only in media.
Withdrawing his claim that he had taken Kurien in his car to a guest house in Kumali where the victim was lodged, Dharmarajan said in fact he did not even have a car of his own.
The affidavit was submitted in a private petition filed by the victim seeking legal action against Kurien in the light of Dharmarajan's "revelation."
Dharmarajan dropped a bombshell in February claiming in a television interview that Kurien was present at the guest house where the victim was exploited and that he (Dharmarajan) was under pressure from the investigators to refrain from mentioning the Congress leader's name.
A lawyer by profession, Dharmarajan was the only accused convicted by the Kerala high court in 2005 while it cleared 34 others earlier held guilty by a special court that conducted trial in the case in the late 1990s.
After serving a brief jail term, Dharmarajan was freed on bail but never returned to prison and his whereabouts were unknown till he resurfaced in February, after the case took a new turn with the Supreme Court asking the Kerala high court to conduct a re-trial.
The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Idukki district January 1996. A 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and was later confined and sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men.