25 February 2013

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Full Details Suryanelli Rape Case 40 Days 42 Men Rape 16-Year-Old Girl 17 Years Back Still No Justice

Full Details Suryanelli Rape Case 40 Days 42 Men Rape 16-Year-Old Girl 17 Years Back Still No Justice

The Suryanelli case is named after the place where the Rape victim hailed from, in the state’s Idukki district.

Suryanelli Sexual Assault victim. was 16 at the time of the incident, and is now a 32-year-old woman.

The girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district of Kerala in India was transported from place to place across Kerala.

The accused included some well-known and well-placed individuals including the congress leader P J Kurien.

The crime occurred in January 1996 when the then 16-year-old was threatened, abducted, abused by a bus conductor, and brutally raped and treated as a pleasure object for a period of 40 days by 42 men.

She was taken from place to place in the state, and was eventually abandoned across the border in Tamil Nadu.
The girl was dumped at Muvattupuzha bus stand, and given Rs.100, after her condition worsened and the accused knew she could not be trafficked.

The victim was a minor girl who complained that several persons, including Kurien, had raped her in February 1996.

The complaint alleged that Kurien had raped her at the Kumily guesthouse in Idukki district.

The girl had filed a private complaint to the Chief Minister alleging that she was taken to various places and raped by different persons.

The victim in the Suryanelli case had alleged that Mr. Kurien raped her at the Kumily Panchayat Guest House on that day, while Mr. Kurien said that he was at the residence of his acquaintance, Idicula, in Thiruvalla till 7 p.m. The SIT believed Mr. Kurien as he had three witnesses to support his claim.

However Mr. Kurien’s alibi developed cracks when K.S. Rajan, then Alappuzha district secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party, who was one of the witnesses retracted his statement and said he met Mr. Kurien around 5 p.m. He further alleged the statement given to the SIT was corrected by the police officials, thereby, indicting Mr. Mathews.

None of the statements given by witnesses on Mr. Kurien’s alibi came up before a court of law, as Mr. Kurien moved a petition against the private complaint lodged by the victim’s father at Peerumedu Judicial First Class Magistrate.

His stand was accepted by the High Court and later endorsed by the Supreme Court and he was taken off the list of accused.

In 1999, under public pressure, the government set up the State's first-ever Special Court to try a case of sexual assault.

Dr. V.K. Bhaskaran had examined the girl on February 28, 1996 at 2.30 p.m. on the request of the then Circle Inspector of Munnar. The certificate had remarks about the physical condition of the girl, said K.K. Joshua. Mr. Joshua was one of the members of the special team under the then DIG (crime) Siby Mathews.
The certificate said that
“The certificate said she had multiple injuries on her body, especially private parts, and many wounds were ulcerated and infected. This ruled out the very idea of her giving consent for sexual acts,”
The report clearly said she had severe infections and that she complained of acute pain. Many parts of her body were oedematic (swelling due to abnormal accumulation of body fluids).”
A serious inquiry conducted by a team led by Inspector-General of Police Sibi Mathew bringing the culprits to book.

On September 6, 2000, a trial court convicted 36 people and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment of varying terms.

A special court, which tried the case, had sentenced Dharmarajan to life imprisonment and 35 others to varying terms.

Dharmarajan was put behind the bars at Central Prison, Poojappura as convict number 6454 – sentenced to life imprisonment by the special court formed for trial of Suryanelli case.

Dharmarajan was active in student politics in the 1980s and rose up to the post of general secretary of the Law College unit of SFI. Dharmarajan had enrolled as advocate at the Kanjirappally bar and practiced till the case was registered in 1996.

However, he went into hiding in 1999, even as the trial was on at the special court, only to be arrested by the police from a granite quarry in Karnataka in 2002.

He went missing again in October 2002, after he moved the high court against the special court verdict and did not appear before the police, as it was required, when the high court reduced his sentence to five years.

The high court, however, acquitted the 35 people while remitting the life sentence of Dharmarajan to five years in 2005.
He secured bail to file an appeal the same year but has been absconding since then.

Later her family and the state moved the Supreme Court in 2005 against the high court's verdict.

The Supreme Court on January 3, this year had decided to hear the appeal against the acquittal of the 35 accused in the gang rape case on an urgent basis within three weeks.

The bench had given the assurance after it was brought to its notice that the appeal against the high court verdict had been pending in the apex court for the last eight years.

The Supreme Court frowned on the high court's suggestion that what happened with the victim had been with her implied consent.
She had not raised an alarm despite many opportunities, the high court had said.

The Supreme Court disagreed. "How can it be? We can understand consent for one man but for so many persons. We don't subscribe to this suggestion," the bench observed.

The Supreme Court has sent back the case to Kerala HC asking it to take a fresh look at it.
Supreme Court set aside the Kerala High Court's order, and asked for a retrial of the rape case to be completed within six months.

The Supreme Court on January 31, 2013 set aside the Kerala High Court’s order acquitting 35 accused in the case

Dharmarajan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Special Court in 2002, had got his punishment reduced to five years in the 2005 High Court judgment.

Following this, he had secured bail for seeking appeal.
But he jumped bail and went absconding.
With the annulment of the 2005 High Court judgment by the apex court, Dharmarajan is at present bound by the Special Court verdict of 2002 (life imprisonment) and not eligible for bail.

Dharmarajan, the convict who is absconding after obtaining bail, had told a television channel that the principal investigator in the case had allegedly pressurized him not to mention Kurien's alleged involvement in the case.

Dharmarajan was absconding throughout the period of investigation and trial of the co-accused in the Suryanelli case.

The arrest of Dharmarajan, who had been absconding for over seven years, comes in the wake of his TV channel ‘revelation’ from his hideout in Karnataka regarding the involvement of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien in the Suryanelli sex scandal.

He said in the interview that in 1996, he drove Mr. Kurien, who is the Vice Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, to the guesthouse where the gang-rape survivor says she was assaulted by Mr. Kurien.

Dharmarajan said that at the time, he was pressured by the Kerala Police not to testify against the Congressman.

Mr. Kurien has been exonerated by the Supreme Court; he was not among the 35 men tried for the woman's rape by the Kerala High Court.

Kurien, however, rubbished Dharmarajan's claim holding the statement of an accused after conviction has no legal validity.

The girl, whose education ended at class 8 after the ordeal, was given the job of a peon by the state government.
However, on February, 7, 2012, she was arrested for allegedly misappropriating department money, which led to her being remanded in judicial custody for a week and suspended from her job for eight months.
The suspension order was recently withdrawn and the victim was transferred to another office.

The mother told to media that
appeal was moved in the Supreme Court.
Those forces wanted to show that my daughter was not honest, and thus weaken the case.
She was arrested while going to office, 100 metres from home, and taken away like a terrorist,"

February 17, 2013
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) demanded re-investigation of the 17-year-old Suryanelli gang rape case and sought removal of P J Kurien from the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman following allegations against him in connection with the incident.

The party said it should be noted that Kurien had got the benefit of a "flawed judgement" when his petition not to be included as one of the accused was accepted by the High Court and the Supreme Court in 2007.

Kurien has all along rejected the charge and opposition's demand for his resignation, saying it was a matter, which had already been cleared by the Supreme Court.

Kurien is not part of the 35 accused but the victim had filed a private complaint later accusing him also of involvement in the sexual assault.
However, Supreme Court had allowed a discharge petition by Kurien.

The victim had sent a letter to the Supreme Court seeking a review of the apex court's order quashing all charges against Kurien.

The victim had filed a police complaint against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, listing him as an accused in the case along with three others in the light of revelations by Dharmarajan to a television channel that he had accompanied Kurien to the Kumily rest house on February 19, 1996.

The Congress leader was exonerated by the Supreme Court in 2007.
But the rape victim says that is because his political connections allowed him to evade a thorough probe by the police.

Union Minister Vayalar Ravi and his comment Journalist and Rape Case
When a lady journalist asked him about the Kurien case, Ravi said nothing will happen to her and asked whether she had anything personal against the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson.
He went on to ask, "Did he (Kurien) do something to you? sparking an outrage among the scribes.

The Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said he has called up the lady journalist and apologized for the comment.

Congress MP K Sudhakaran said that
"There is a new trend that women are engaging in relationships with consent. And when they get caught, they start slamming it as rape.
Why did the girl not try to escape? She stayed with them for 40 days,"
 She went out for local purchases, visited the doctor... couldn't she have cried aloud or shouted?"
Rape and prostitution must be differentiated. So that we can be at peace in our society.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 signed by the President recently to effect changes in law against sexual crimes has no retrospective effect.

Union Defense Minister A.K. Antony told to media that
The Suryanelli case came up when I was the Chief Minister.
The investigation was handed over to the Crime Branch
No evidence was found against P.J. Kurien in the investigation.
After this, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) ruled for 10 years and the United Democratic Front (UDF) for seven years.
No evidence against Kurien.

Mr. Kurien told to media that he is not guilty, he won six elections.

But fact remains that the rape victim recognized his photograph in a newspaper, when she initially named him in 1996?
Mr. Kurien dismisses it as a case of mistaken identity.

Now in this case what will happen?

Year – 1996 Girl Raped

A case was registered three years after the incident.

On September 6, 2000, a special court sentenced the 35 accused to rigorous imprisonment for varying terms.
The first accused, conductor Raju, and the second accused, Usha, were sentenced to 13- year RI with fine, and an additional jail term of four years, on different counts. Dharmarajan had been absconding, but was arrested later.
The trial court convicted all the 35 accused of rape, gang rape and kidnapping

In January, 20 2005, the Kerala High Court acquitted all the accused except prime accused S.S. Dharmarajan.

High Court said that, During the long period of 40 days she had been taken from place to place in public conveyances and she had been in lodges where others had also sought accommodation. She was also taken to hospitals twice but there was no attempt from her to escape from the clutches of any of the accused, including Dharmarajan”

Year 2013 –

The Supreme Court set aside the High Court judgment

The Bench ordered fresh hearing of the appeals and directed the court to dispose of them in six months.

The Bench directed all the accused to file fresh bail applications before the High Court in four weeks and asked the High Court to pass appropriate orders uninfluenced by the orders passed by the Supreme Court.

Now what will happen?

High Court will give judgement in six months of time

Then again Appeal will get filed in High Court,

Then again Appeal will get filed in the SC

Then again review petition, appeal will get filed in Supreme Court of India


Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Monday, February 25, 2013
A fresh trial of this case will start from today in High Court.
However, of the 36 accused, the bail plea of only 14 will come up for hearing.
Although the list does not include Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien as he is not an accused in the case.

Reality views by sm –

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tags - Suryanelli gang rape, P.J. Kurien


रविकर February 25, 2013  

हम शर्मिन्दा हैं-

deeps February 25, 2013  

gruesome news
and our country is one of the biggest democracies

MEcoy February 25, 2013  

very informative post sm

Happy Kitten February 26, 2013  

You have summarised the case so well..thanksu...i hope this girl is given judtice..

Usha February 27, 2013  

sm, Thanks for full report on Suryanelli Rape case...It is so painful to read through this case...17 years and no full justice done...such delays make more and more men to keep committing rapes...no fear..no serious consequences.

Hope to see positive justice soon. I don't understand one thing, when 36 were convicted in year 2000 with rigorous imprisonment, then why bail them again?

SM February 27, 2013  


As appeal is filed in higher court they get bail as per Indian law.

Truth always triumphs May 13, 2016  

Oh my such a disaster felt like watching a movie.why could she not run??? A 16 year old girl she was then and those who raped her were such huge men. If this world will not give her justice there is a higher court where the truth will triumph.There no one is rich, famous or a politician in that court.All will have to pay for their deeds.