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Photo: IBNLive

Under scrutiny in the Suryanelli gangrape case, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Kerala Congressman PJ Kurien has claimed that he was a victim of a political conspiracy. Denying allegations against him, Kurien has refused to step down.

Talking to CNN-IBN, Kurien said, "The allegations are politically motivated. The girl is putting the allegations during elections. Where is the moral ground when I went through four inquiries that cleared me. Somewhere there is some conspiracy. My party is entirely with me," Kurien said.

Demanding a thorough probe into the case, Kurien said, "I now feel there needs to be a full investigation into the conspiracy."

Troubles resurfaced for the Kerala Congressman after the Suryanelli rape survivor sent a letter to the Supreme Court last week, asking for a review of the apex court's order quashing all charges against Kurien.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was the first to defend Kurien. Chandy said, "The allegations against Kurien is not new and it was cleared by the Supreme Court years ago. It is rather sad and unfortunate to attack someone who has been found innocent by the courts.:

The Chief Minister's confidence stems from the fact that though Kurien was probed thrice by three different officers, during the term of the CPM led-LDF, nothing emerged. But the CPM was quick to hit back. Leader of Opposition VS Achuthananthan said, "There should be a complete re -investigation in to Kurien's role in the case. He should also step down from his post till his name is cleared."

CPI(M) politbureau member MA Baby said it would be morally inappropriate for Kurien to continue as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman in view of the allegation levelled against him. "My personal opinion is, it is morally incorrect for him to continue in the post. The national leadership of the Congress party should think about this and take a decision," Baby told reporters in Kannur.

The Supreme Court had last week set aside the Kerala High Court verdict in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case that had acquitted 36 accused. The apex court remanded the gangrape case of the teenaged girl back to the Kerala High Court asking it to take a fresh look at it.

All the accused on bail were directed by the Supreme Court to secure fresh bail from the Kerala High Court. The Supreme Court also expressed shock over the findings of the Kerala HC that the victim was a willing partner.

In 1996, in Suryanelli, bordering the tea gardens of Munnar, a teenaged girl was raped by over 42 men including a bus conductor and many others. Faced with ostracisation, the victim's family had to leave the village.

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