New Delhi, Jan 31 : The Supreme Court Thursday annulled a Kerala High Court verdict acquitting 35 men accused of raping a teenaged girl in 1996 in the state's Suryanelli.

Directing the case to be re-judged within six months, the apex court said the Kerala High Court did not look at the evidence properly.

A total of 42 men were accused of raping the 16-year-old girl, who hailed from Suryanelli in Idukki district. Brutally raped for 45 days, she was then told by the perpetrators to return home and keep mum.

On Sep 6, 2000, a special court convicted 35 of them and sentenced them to varying terms of rigorous imprisonment.

However, the Kerala High Court acquitted all of them but one, who was sentenced to five years' imprisonment.


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