6-year jail term for Saritha Nair in Kerala solar scam

Published on Apr 27, 2021 05:38 PM IST

The judicial first class magistrate court in Kozhikode (north Kerala) on Tuesday sentenced the second accused in solar cheating case Saritha S Nair to six years rigorous imprisonment and fined her ₹40,000

Kerala solar scam accused Saritha Nair. (ANI)
Kerala solar scam accused Saritha Nair. (ANI)

The judicial first class magistrate court in Kozhikode (north Kerala) on Tuesday sentenced the second accused in solar cheating case Saritha S Nair to six years rigorous imprisonment and fined her 40,000.

Congress leader and former home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan welcomed the verdict. “The ruling front has used her to target Congress leaders. It is a slap on its face,” he said.

The court found Nair guilty of breach of trust, cheating, forging documents and other offences. The first accused, Biju Radhakrishnan, her second husband, is in quarantine and his sentence will be announced later. The court held that she has to undergo the sentence separately. She had already been convicted in three other cases.

This is one of the 30-odd complaints registered against the duo in the solar cheating case in 2013. This case relates to the cheating of a businessman Abdul Majeed in 2012. He had accused both of cheating him of 42.70 lakh after promising to install imported solar panels in his office and house and franchisee rights of their firm. Fearing bad publicity many withdrew their plaints later.

Though the trial in the case was completed in 2018, the verdict was postponed. The case dragged after Nair failed to appear before the court citing many reasons. Later, the court issued an arrest warrant and she was held from her house in Thiruvananthapuram last week.

The solar scandal, one of the reasons for the fall of the Oommen Chandy regime, surfaced in 2013. Nair and Radhakrishnan floated a fictitious solar energy company called ‘Team Solar’ and cheated many by seeking investments with the promise of making them business partners or offering to install solar power units. They flaunted their ‘high connections’ to attract gullible investors.

She used to frequent the CM’s office using her connections. Oommen Chandy, the then CM of Kerala, had to sack two of his private secretaries and the state public relations director when their names cropped up in the case. Later, Nair also accused many Congress leaders, including Chandy, of sexually harassing her. This complaint was handed over to the CBI by the Pinarayi Vijayan government two months back but the central agency is yet to take up the case.

Nair allegedly figured in another cheating case last year when some of the job aspirants filed a police complaint against her saying she accepted money from them in the guise of helping them to get government jobs. However, due to her alleged proximity with the left front government, which used her to target Congress leaders, she was spared.

She also tried to contest against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad in the 2019 Lok Sabha election but her papers were rejected. Last November, the Supreme Court rejected her plea challenging the election of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi with a fine. Her nomination from Wayanad was rejected by the returning officer on account of her conviction in cheating cases related to the solar scam.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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