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Solar scam: Kerala’s LDF govt orders vigilance probe against ex-CM Oommen Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram, October 11

The Kerala Government on Wednesday ordered a vigilance probe against former chief minister Oommen Chandy in connection with a multi-crore solar scam.

The decision was taken on the basis of the findings of the Justice G Sivarajan Commission, which had probed the scam and had last month submitted its report to the government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday.

The report will be placed before the state assembly within six months, Vijayan told reporters here after a cabinet meeting.

Chandy directly, and through four of his former office staff — Jikkumon Joseph, Tenny Joppen, Salim Raj and Kuruvilla — had allegedly taken bribe from Saritha S Nair, who had started a solar company, and on that basis a case will be registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Vijayan said.

The government also decided to conduct Vigilance and SIT probe against Chandy’s former office staff.

A criminal case will be registered and investigation by SIT will be held against former home minister, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who allegedly tried to destroy the evidence and influenced policemen to help the former chief minister.

An inquiry will also be launched against former Power minister, Arayandan Mohammed, who allegedly helped the solar company, chief minister said.

Two former Congress MLAs — Benny Behanan and Thamapanoor — have also been brought under the ambit of the probe.

The state government had also sought legal opinion of the advocate general and director general of prosecutions (DGP) into the commission’s findings following which it was decided to launch proceedings against them.

The state government has also resolved to initiate probe against IGP K Padmakumar and DYSP K Harikrishnan who allegedly destroyed evidence.

Vigilance case will be registered and inquiry held into a letter by Sarita Nair in which she has levelled allegations of rape and sexual exploitation against senior UDF leaders, including MPs and MLAs.

The commission was appointed by the previous Oommen Chandy government after allegations surfaced about duping of several people of crores of rupees by Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan by offering solar panel solutions.

The CPI (M)-led LDF, then in opposition, had launched an agitation following reports about Saritha’s links with the office of the chief minister.

Several politicians, including then chief minister Chandy, were among those examined by the commission.

Chandy’s former gunman Salim Raj and his former personal staff member Jikkumon had also been examined, after Saritha, the prime suspect, deposed before the panel.

Chandy had maintained that the charges against him and his office were “politically motivated” and had denied any wrongdoing.

Set up in October 2013, the commission had held 353 sittings, examined 214 witnesses and 972 documents.