Kerala solar scam: Heat on former CM Oommen Chandy, Congress leaders
The Congress, which leads the opposition United Democratic Front, has found itself in a bind on this issue as some its members have been accused of crimes ranging from sexual assault to bribery.
The LDF government in Kerala has brought the 2013 'solar scam' into the limelight again by ordering an investigation by the vigilance department against former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and some of his fellow UDF leaders among others.
The Congress, which leads the United Democratic Front, has found itself in a bind on this issue as some its members have been accused of crimes ranging from sexual assault to bribery.
The Left Democratic Front-led government’s move follows the submission of report by the Solar Judicial Commission that was appointed by Chandy in 2013.
The single-member commission of Justice G Sivarajan, in its recently submitted report, has accused Oommen Chandy, his former personal staff Tenny Joppen, Jikkumon Jacob, and gunman Salim Raj, among others, of having a role in the scam and aiding prime accused Saritha S. Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan.
The accused — Nair and Radhakrishnan — had founded the company Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions in Kochi and lured investors by using high-level connections, including the former CM.
They allegedly conned investors, including some NRIs, by promising them a role as partners in a wind mill and solar field project and took several crores of rupees. It is based on the complaint of one such investor that the couple was arrested.
After they were arrested for the same in 2013, in a phased out manner, Nair had revealed many names of influential people who were connected with her in the scam, including Chandy, who has denied the charges of bribery.
During investigation, the police accessed Nair’s phone call records which revealed her connection to dozens of UDF leaders including those who were Union, state ministers, and legislators at the time. The vigilance inquiry will also cover most of them.
Saritha had written a letter from jail to the Court where she named 13 influential people and alleged sexual exploitation and rape.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan, who has made parts of the Judicial findings public, said that the accused persons would face charges and investigation of bribery, sexual assault, and rape.
Saritha Nair demanded that Chandy be punished. She told the Deccan Chronicle, “One who was party to a crime along with me should be exposed, especially since he is a public worker.”Ramesh Chennithala, the state’s leader of Opposition and member of Congress party, has told the media that he saw political motivation behind CM Vijayan’s timing of calling for a press meet regarding this issue.