The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to initiate a criminal and vigilance probe against former chief minister Oommen Chandy and several others in what is known as the Rs7 million solar scam case.
Besides Chandy, the probe would also investigate his former cabinet colleagues, a former federal minister, legislators, other Congress leaders and then senior police officers.
The allegations regarding the multi-million solar energy investment fraud that rocked the Chandy government in 2013 were led by Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan. Saritha had alleged she was sexually exploited by several political leaders.
The Pinarayi Vijayan government also decided to initiate a sexual harassment case based on her letter against all those named by her.
Apart from Chandy, the police would probe former ministers Aryadan Mohammed, Adoor Prakash, AP Anil Kumar and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
The others named in the case are legislator Hibi Eden, former MLAs Benny Behanan and Thampanoor Ravi, Lok Sabha members Jose K. Mani and former federal minister KC Venugopal, Palanimanickam MP and party office bearer N Subramanian. All those named in the case belong to the Congress, except for Jose K. Mani of the Kerala Congress (Mani).
State Congress president MM Hassan told the media here that this is nothing but political ‘witch-hunting’.
The probe decision was announced by Pinarayi based on the recommendations of the Solar Scam Commission report submitted by Justice (retd) G Sivarajan in September.
“The 1,723-page report in four volumes was handed over to the advocate-general and director- general of prosecution for their legal opinion. We decided to accept their recommendation and have decided to initiate criminal and vigilance cases as it has come to light this was a fraudulent business and … bribes were given.
“Another case based on the letter by Saritha that she was sexually exploited will also be registered as receiving money and sexual favours are equally culpable.”
He said senior police officials who will face the probe include present Director-General of Police A Hemachandran, who had led the probe in 2013, and Additional Director-General of Police AK Padmakumar.
Pinarayi added that a Special Investigation Team led by Director-General of Police Rajesh Diwan had been set up to probe the cases.
The case broke out in June 2013 during Chandy’s rule (2011-16) after reports surfaced that three staffers in the chief minister’s office had contacts with a couple who cheated many investors of money after promising to supply solar panels to them.
The commission was appointed by the Chandy government in October 2013 under pressure from the then Left opposition. While Saritha is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is still in custody after it came to light that he had murdered his first wife.
Reacting to the development, Chandy said it would be dealt with legally and not the way the CPM did it when cases were registered against them.
“I have nothing to fear as I am guided by my conscience. I know I have done no wrong. If they feel they can finish me off through this case, they are thoroughly mistaken because I will bounce back even stronger,” Chandy said.
Indo-Asian News Service