Solar scam again raises political heat in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, June 19 (IANS) The opposition CPI-M on Friday again demanded Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s resignation after a TV channel broadcast footage of a lawyer for the solar scam accused making a statement on Chandy and a few of his cabinet colleagues.

The latest development comes a day after the two main accused in the infamous solar scam – Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan – were sentenced to three years in jail in a cheating case and fined Rs.1.20 crore by a court in Pathanamthitta.

On Friday morning, a TV channel aired footage shot on a spycam in which Nair’s counsel Feny Balakrishnan is allegedly seen and heard saying that Chandy, a few of his cabinet colleagues and other senior Congress leaders had given money to Nair to settle her cases.

CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters that Chandy should quit.

“In the wake of the fresh revelations against Chandy, his cabinet colleague Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, and former Congress legislator Thampanoor Ravi – who according to the advocate has been an intermediary in handing money to Nair – a fresh case should be registered and Chandy should quit,” said Balakrishnan, ahead of the Aruvikara assembly segment byelection due on June 27.

“This is the first time I am hearing of the new footage. Nothing of this sort has ever happened. After Thursday’s court verdict, some people are unhappy and hence new things have started to come out,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

“All along, the media had been saying that the accused used a letter written by me; but the court has said it was a forged letter. But many in the media ignored this point. Is this ethical journalism,” he asked.

The chief minister said that the court’s verdict on Thursday was “a victory for the Congress government”.

He said that the instant case had surfaced during the rule of earlier Left government.

“They never did anything and dismissed the case as insignificant. But our government took it to its logical conclusion and the accused have now been sentenced,” said Chandy.

Meanwhile, angry youth activist of the CPI-M shouted slogans against Prakash in Kannur and demanded his resignation from the state cabinet.

There are numerous cases of cheating registered against Saritha Nair and Radhakrishnan.

Both are accused of cheating many investors by promising to supply them with solar panels worth millions of rupees.

The Rs.7 crore solar panel scam surfaced in 2013 and rocked the Oommen Chandy government as three of his staff members were found to have links with Nair. The three were sacked by Chandy.

While Nair is out on bail in similar cases, Radhakrishnan is yet to get bail as he is an accused in a murder case as well.

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