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Solar scam threatens to eclipse Chandy govt

The heat from the solar panel installation scam appears set to singe Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Babu reports.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2013 01:31 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times

The heat from the solar panel installation scam appears set to singe Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy.

The CPM-led opposition is baying for his blood. And now with the alleged scamster claiming he had met the CM last month, even the sacking of two of his staff members might not help.

The scamster duo — Saritha Nair and her estranged husband Biju Radakrishnan — have been known to the state police since 2005. This time, they had floated ‘Team Solar’ – ostensibly meant to set up imported solar power plants. Using their connections, they had duped a number of businessmen. Now it appears that those connections extended to the highest level of government.

Nair, who is currently in police custody, apparently made at least 60 calls to the chief minister’s office and his residence in May. Within minutes of a television channel airing the report on Friday, Radakrishnan claimed he had met the chief minister in Kochi last month – the meeting being arranged by Congress parliamentarian MI Shahnawaz.

Radakrishnan, who is accused of murdering his first wife, also claimed his wife had illicit relations with former minister KB Ganesh Kumar, and was in touch with Union minister of state KC Venugopal.

On Sunday, Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan asked the United Nations, which had lauded Chandy’s mass contact programme two weeks ago, to withdraw the honour.

“We want nothing short of his resignation. He should tell people why he defended a criminal couple. He cannot get away sacrificing his aides,” VS said.

The Congress has been lukewarm about defending the CM. PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala, who unsuccessfully made a bid to enter the cabinet as the deputy CM, is keeping a stony silence.

The dragging of Ganesh Kumar’s name into the case proved a further blow for the CM.

A few months ago, Kumar’s estranged wife Yamini Thankachy had claimed that she had met Chandy to apprise him of her husband’s misbehavior. Chandy was criticised for not taking action. Later, Kumar was dropped from the cabinet.

First Published: Jun 17, 2013 00:42 IST