Suryanelli case: Parole-jumping lone convict arrested

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 12:30 hrs

Kottayam (Kerala), Feb 15 (IANS) The infamous Suryanelli sex case's lone convict, who dodged law since 2005 while out on parole, was arrested from a town in neighbouring Karnataka Friday, police said.

Addressing reporters here, district police chief C.Rajagopal said that Dharmarajan was arrested and had not surrendered.

"Our police team was in Karnataka for the past few days and they traced him and arrested him. The police team is now on their way back with the accused and is expected to be here latest by tomorrow early morning," he said Friday.

The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Idukki district January 1996, when 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.

The case was back in the spotlight after the Supreme Court ordered a retrial in the case Jan 31 while setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused convicted by a special court.

A lawyer by profession, Dharmarajan was the only accused convicted by the high court. After serving a brief jail term, he went on parole in 2005 and since then he was untraceable.

His whereabouts were unknown till earlier this week when he alleged to a TV channel from an undisclosed location in Mysore that it was in his car that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who is facing allegations of involvement in the sexual assault, was taken to a guest house in Idukki district and exploited the 16-year-old victim.

Kurien has flatly denied this revelation, noting it was the first time that Dharmarajan is making the claim and had never mentioned it during the trial period.

After Dharmarajan' revelation on TV, Kerala Police, who had no clue to his whereabouts for the past eight years, sent a team to Karnataka and tracked him down using his mobile with the help of Karnataka Police.

"Once he is here, he will be presented before the special court set up for the case," added Rajagopal.

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