Solar scam and bar scam are a Left conspiracy, says UDF

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (IANS) The recent developments in the ‘solar scam’ and the ‘bar bribery case’ have been part of a conspiracy hatched between the opposition CPI-M and the liquor bar owners, Kerala’s Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) said on Saturday.

The UDF has recommended to the Oommen Chandy government to find out the conspirators behind this mudslinging, coalition convener P.P. Thankachen told reporters after a meeting of its constituents.

“The events that have now surfaced clearly indicate that the script of the revelations has been prepared by the CPI-M and the bar owners,” said Thankachen.

The second accused in the solar scam, Saritha Nair, had said in an interview in 2014 that she had been offered bribes by CPI-M leaders for attacking Chief Minister Chandy, he claimed.

While the solar scam, in which a fraudulent solar energy company used its political contacts to dupe people, has embroiled Chandy, the ‘bar bribery case’ has claimed two UDF ministers, K.M. Mani and K. Babu, both of whom had to resign for allegedly taking bribes from liquor bar owners in return for help in re-opening closed bars.

This month saw fast paced developments in both the scams in a state going to assembly polls in a few months.

On January 23, excise and ports minister K. Babu had to resign following an order by a vigilance court in Thrissur to register a first information report (FIR) against him in the bar bribery case.

That order was stayed on Thursday by the Kerala high court.

On January 28, the vigilance court in Thrissur ordered that an FIR be registered against Chandy and power minister Arayadan Mohammed on the basis of the accusation made by Saritha Nair that she had paid bribe to them.

The order led to the CPI-M-led Left front and BJP demanding the resignation of Chandy and Mohammad, but was also stayed – on Friday – by the Kerala high court.

Nair had said on Wednesday that she paid Rs.1.90 crore to Chandy through a person named Thomas Kuruvilla and another Rs.40 lakh to Mohammed to strike a deal in the solar panel business.

UDF convener Thankachen said the conspiracy by the CPI-M was evident in the timing of Nair’s charges against the chief minister.

“From what we all heard through her disclosures in the past few days, it has now become clear that she has accepted the offer of the CPI-M (to malign Chandy) and till now the CPI-M has not denied it either,” he said.

The scam first surfaced close to three years ago and what she was now saying had never been revealed by her before, he said.

“So it is clear that the deal between Nair and the CPI-M has clicked and hence she is making all these revelations.”

Thankachen came down heavily on CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, citing his statement that the state would have a new liquor policy if his party came to power.

“This statement shows that the CPI-M has struck a deal with the bar owners whose more than 700 bars have not opened since the Supreme Court accepted the Chandy government’s liquor policy,” added Thankachen.

So the allegations made by Nair and head of Kerala Bar Owners Association Biju Ramesh clearly indicated that they were all hand in glove to “torpedo” the government, he said.

In its meeting on Saturday, the UDF also decided that K. Babu’s resignation need not be accepted. It also wanted K.M. Mani, whose resignation was based on an allegation made by Ramesh, to be reinducted into the cabinet.

Meanwhile, CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here that Chandy and his tainted cabinet colleagues had no moral right to continue in office because the Thrissur Vigilance court’s directive had only been stayed.

“The high court has only stayed the order and not quashed the case. Chandy and Mohammed must quit. We will boycott these tainted ministers,” said Balakrishnan.

He said the CPI-M-led Left parties would organise huge protests on February 5, the day the Kerala assembly reconvenes, and on February 12, when the state budget is presented.

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