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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Thiruvananthapuram, June 18, 2013
The raging solar panel scam which put Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy under a cloud rocked the Kerala assembly on Monday even as the state police arrested scam linchpin Bjiu Radhakrishnan from neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Rejecting the demand for his resignation by the opposition Left Democratic Front, the CM said there was no substance in the charge that he had a direct link with fraudster duo, Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, who had cheated a large number of people promising imported solar panels, agencies and share in wind energy farms.

The CM, however, admitted that his “liberal and transparent style of functioning” was misused by some staff members and they would be brought to justice if proven guilty.

“The government has nothing to hide and no one involved in the cheating will be spared,” he said.

The CM had sacked two of his staff members two days ago after reports surfaced that they were in touch with the accused.

The second accused Saritha had apparently made at least 60 calls to the CM’s office before her arrest on June 3.

Chandy also said he met Radhakrishnan in Kochi last month at the initiative of party MP M I Shahnawaz. “I obliged since the request came from a party MP. And he discussed only family matters.” The CM said he wasn’t aware of his shady past.

Angry opposition members disrupted Chandy’s speech several times. “He can’t get away with flimsy explanations. He should quit immediately,” opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said.