Conditional bail to 34 in Suryanelli sex case

Kochi, March 21 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Thursday granted bail to 34 accused in the infamous Suryanelli sex case. All 34 are among those convicted by a trial court but acquitted by the high court in 2005.

The case is back in the spotlight after the Supreme Court ordered a retrial Jan 31, setting aside the acquittal of all but one of the 35 accused.
A special court that had been set up for the trial of the case in 1996 had earlier convicted 35.
The case relates to the then 16-year-old girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district, who was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and later confined and taken from place to place, sexually assaulted over 45 days by 42 men.
The apex court, while ordering a retrial of the case January 2013, had ordered all the then accused to seek fresh bail from the high court, if they so desired.
The high court has asked all the 34 who applied for bail to surrender their passports, furnish a bond of Rs.50,000 and refrain from exerting pressure or causing trouble to the victim, who is now in her 30s, and an employee of the state government.
Earlier this week, the victim’s family met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and requested him to see that the state government appoint Suresh Babu Thomas as the special public prosecutor, as he had served as the counsel for the girl in the trial court.
The apex court has directed the high court to see that the retrial is completed in six months.