Under attack over the Suryanelli rape case that has returned to haunt him, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Deputy Chairman P J Kurien Friday ruled out his resignation saying he is innocent.
"I have been absolutely cleared by the highest court of the land legally and morally. To my conscience, I am an innocent person.
"Can an innocent person be asked to step down because of allegations? Stepping down would amount to making me admit myself indirectly to the crime," he told PTI when asked whether he would resign against the backdrop of a political uproar over the case.
Kurien said the current controversy and the demands for his prosecution in the case were "politically motivated" and is being used to "tarnish my image by my political adversaries".
"This controversy has come up perhaps under the misunderstanding that I am an accused in the main case where 36 accused have been acquitted by the high court. The Supreme Court has cancelled acquittal and reverted the case back to the high court. I am not an accused at all," he said.
The allegation against him was raised in a private complaint during the 1996 elections on which he had written to the director general of police and the then Chief Minister A K Antony asking them to order an inquiry.
"Inspector General of Police Rajivan who probed the case said it was a mistaken identity and said it was being pursued by political adversaries of Kurien," the Congress MP said, adding two more inquiries instituted during the Left government tenure also "exonerated" him.
Maintaining that he has been cleared by three inquries and the Supreme Court, Kurien said the apex court declared it a fit case for discharge and directed him to file discharge petition in the lower court.
"The Supreme Court acquitted me in the case in 2007 and neither V S Achuthanandan who was the chief minister nor the girl who complained raised any objections. In fact, Achuthanandan could have asked for a review. But both of them accepted the judgement," he said.
Raising a question on the rationale behind raising the issue now, the Congress MP said why should he be linked with the case when the Supreme Court has ordered for rehearing of the case.
"My political adversaries want to create a cloud of suspicion around me and tarnish my image. I am totally innocent and this is a 17-year-old case in which I have been cleared and discharged by the Supreme Court," he said.
"It is a settled matter by the Supreme Court. Now she is raking up under pressure from my political adversaries. She is playing as a tool in their hands," he alleged.
He also punched holes in the demands for a CBI inquiry into the case.
"It is interesting to note that during the 1996 elections, the CPI-M and the girl had petitioned the high court demanding a CBI inquiry into the case. They withdrew the petition after I won the elections and now the same people are demanding a CBI inquiry now," he said.