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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Solar scam: Probe report indicts former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy, others

The solar scam took place in 2013 when the UDF government led by Oommen Chandy was in power.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2017 15:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy(HT File Photo)

The judicial commission formed to probe the multi-million dollar solar scam in Kerala has indicted former chief minister Oommen Chandy, former ministers in his cabinet, and other leaders of the Congress party for allegedly helping the accused to cheat businessmen with the promise of installing solar power plant units.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan tabled the Justice G Sivarajan Commission report, which ran into more than 1000 pages and includes four volumes in English and one in Malayalam, on Thursday during a special session of the Kerala assembly.

Justice Sivarajan submitted his report to the government on September 26, four years after the previous Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government constituted the commission to probe the scandal, which was one of the main reasons for the exit of the Congress regime in the southern state.

The report has said Chandy and his staff members doled out many favours to Nair, the main accused in the case. It also found that former home minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan and members of the special investigation team probing the scam helped Chandy and his staff escape the clutches of the criminal procedures.

The solar scam made headlines four years ago with the arrest of Saritha Nair and her partner Biju Radhakrishnan, who allegedly conned businessmen by flaunting their high-level connections, including with Chandy who was the chief minister at the time.

The scam surfaced in June 2013 after reports said that three staff in the chief minister’s office had contacts with the couple, who cheated many investors of money after promising to supply solar panels to them and stakes in a fictitious firm.

The report added that besides Chandy, his ministers AP Anil Kumar, Aryadan Mohamed and Adoor Prakash and party leaders KC Venugopal and Hibi Eden and Kerala Congress (Mani) leader Jose K Mani sexually exploited Nair, who ran Team Solar.

Nair, who is facing at least 30-odd cheating cases, claimed during the investigation she was sexually exploited by many leaders in a letter to the commission.

The commission also found that some of her charges need a thorough investigation.

However, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the report was changed at the behest of some ruling party leaders and the UDF would fight it out legally. “Officials of the home department visited the commission head after he submitted the report. We suspect something fishy,” he said.

The ruling front countered his allegations, saying the judicial commission was appointed by the previous government.

The government has constituted a special investigation team to probe charges against those mentioned in the report.

The opposition leaders met at Chennithala’s official residence to talk about further action after the 50-minute session of the assembly. News agency IANS cited unnamed sources as saying that the Congress is all set to challenge the report in the court.

This was the first time in the history of the Kerala assembly that a special session was called to table the probe report of a judicial commission. All the 134 previous judicial probes were tabled during regular assembly sessions.

(With IANS inputs)

First Published: Nov 09, 2017 11:45 IST