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Kerala media chase police car retrieving solar scam evidence

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Kochi: In stuff normally seen in films, journalists in Kerala on Thursday were in hot pursuit of a police vehicle carrying the main accused in the solar scam to an undisclosed destination to get hold of video evidence that he claimed was in the safe custody of someone known to him.

Inside the police vehicle was solar scam prime accused Biju Radhakrishnan and four police officials, besides two officials of the solar scam judicial probe commission.

The journey began around 3 pm from the state capital, and the vehicle, according to TV channels, was heading towards Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

On Thursday morning, Radhakrishnan, who was supposed to produce video evidence before the probe commission, revealed that the evidence was kept in the safe custody of someone known to him, and the place was located about six hours drive from here.

Radhakrishnan had last week told the commission that he has with him video evidence showing his live-in partner Saritha Nair with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and two of his cabinet colleagues.

On Thursday, he said he has three copies of the video — one kept outside India, the second was taken away by Kerala Police when he was arrested from Coimbatore in 2013 and the third in safe custody with a friend in an undisclosed destination.

The commission on Thursday ordered police to take him along and produce the video once it is recovered.

There are many cases of cheating registered against Nair and Radhakrishnan.

Both are accused of cheating investors by promising to supply them solar panels worth crores of rupees.

The Rs 7 crore solar panel scam surfaced in 2013 and rocked the Chandy government as three of his staff members were found to have links with Nair. The three were sacked by the chief minister.

While Nair is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is yet to get bail as he is an accused in a murder case as well.(ians)

(Image- Tehelka)

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Court orders FIR against Oommen Chandy

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s ruling Congress UDF party was shocked when a court ordered an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy following the solar panel scam, who claimed innocence and rejected to resign.

And even as Saritha Nair, one of the main accused in the scandal and who hurled bribery allegations against the Chief Minister on Wednesday, threatened on Thursday to prove that Chandy was very much guilty, the UDF lost an RSP legislator, who said he was disgusted with Chandy’s government.

A court in Thrissur told Kerala’s vigilance department to file a First Information Report (FIR) against Chandy on corruption charges in what has come to be known as the “solar scam”.

The Thrissur Vigilance Court also directed an FIR to be registered against Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed.

This followed a petition by activist P D Joseph after Saritha Nair told a judicial commission that she gave Rs 1.90 crore in bribes to Chandy in two instalments.

The developments have come at a time when the United Democratic Front faces assembly elections only months away. The opposition Left immediately asked Chandy to resign.

CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said, “The court has made its intentions clear through the FIR, and Chandy has only one way now to go forward and that is to quit at the earliest.”

In New Delhi, BJP leader and Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The charges against the Chief Minister and the Power Minister are of very serious nature and we demand their resignations.”

Chandy maintained in Malappuram that he had a clear conscience.

“I have done no wrong. I will face the probe and cooperate with it,” he said. Asked if would resign, Chandy shot back “For what?”

The scam erupted in 2013 when a company, Team Solar, allegedly used two women to weave political contacts and duped several influential people of large sums of money by offering to make them business partners or by setting up solar panels.

Saritha Nair said on Wednesday that the money she paid to Chandy was part of the Rs 7 crore demanded by him. She said she also gave Rs 40 lakh to Minister Mohammed.

Even as Chandy said he had done no wrong, she said the truth was otherwise.

“After the unbearable tension of carrying all this on my head for the past more than three years, now I feel very relaxed as I am speaking the truth. I will prove through evidence that Chandy is wrong and I am right.”

Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan were arrested in the scandal in 2013 on charges of cheating numerous investors, who paid money for solar panels. While Saritha Nair is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is in jail after being accused of murdering his first wife.

In Thiruvananthapuram, RSP’s Kovoor Kunjumon quit the Kerala assembly, saying he was disgusted with the UDF government, and pledged to rejoin the Left.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party has three legislators. With Kunjumon leaving, the strength of the house has come down to 138 and Chandy now has the support of 72 legislators. The Left commands 66 legislators in the 140-seat house.

Kunjumon said “For seven months, I am unable to show my face to cashew factory workers (in my constituency) as all the factories are closed.

“Others may not know their feelings, but I know it because I am the son of a cashew factory worker. Along with our supporters, we will form the real RSP and will align with the Left,” he said.

Kunjumon was elected to the assembly in 2001, 2006 and 2011 when his party was with the Left. Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he joined the UDF.(IANS)

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Solar Scam continues to drown Kerala assembly

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CPI-M

Thiruvananthapuram: Ongoing ‘solar scan’ continued to cause chaos in the Kerala assembly following the argument between the Oommen Chandy government and the opposition.

Like on Thursday, when the assembly had to be adjourned following the opposition protests and demand for the resignation of Chief Minister Chandy on the charge of his involvement in the scam, acrimony between the two sides forced another adjournment soon after the question hour.

The trouble started when the treasury benches responded to the opposition raising the solar scam issue by referring to another scandal, of the year 2000 vintage, to embarrass the government.

The Leader of Opposition VS Achuthanandan of the CPI-M broached the solar scam through a submission when he asked Labour Minister Shibu Baby John to clarify a remark he had made on Thursday.

“Yesterday you (John) said that there is a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the way the prime accused in the scam, Biju Radhakrishnan, deposed before the judicial probe commission. At one point of time, you almost disclosed the name, but at the last second, two of your cabinet colleagues refrained you from revealing. So, today we wish to know who are behind this,” said Achuthanandan.

John then got up and said that at the appropriate time he would let everyone know who was behind this.

“It’s for this, I said yesterday that I am also going to implead before the Commission because this has to come out. But before that, I request Achuthanandan to reveal the VIP involved in the Killiroor sex scandal,” hit back John.

The Killiroor sex case saw a young teenage girl being sexually assaulted in early 2000. She later died in mysterious circumstances. Just before the 2006 assembly elections, Achuthanandan said there was a VIP behind the case and if he came to power he would take them to the task.

He did nothing even after becoming the Chief Minister.

John’s reference to Killiroor sex scandal had the entire opposition up in arms and they trooped into the well of the house, forcing Speaker N. Sakthan eventually to adjourn the proceedings for the day.

It was on Wednesday that Radhakrishnan told the commission that he had video evidence of Chandy and two of his cabinet colleagues in compromising positions with Saritha Nair.

Saritha Nair is the second accused and live-in partner of Radhakrishnan’s.

The solar scam came to light in 2013 when it was found that Team Solar, a fraudulent company, cheated several influential people of crores of rupees by offering to make them business partners or by offering to install solar power units for them and receiving advance payments for the same.

The company used two women to create political contacts with links even to the Chief Minister’s office.

Radhakrishnan, the main accused, and his live-in partner Saritha Nair were later arrested for cheating investors.

She is out on bail while Radhakrishnan is behind bars after it was proved that he murdered his first wife.(IANS)

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Solar scam: probe panel summons Oommen Chandy

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Kerela: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy found himself in the middle of trouble when he appeared before a probe panel on Monday in relation to solar scam.

The scam was incorporated by the CM in 2013 after massive protests by the Left-led opposition. It is being probed by a commission led by Justice G Sivaraman.

Oommen Chandy is an Indian politician and is the current Chief Minister of Kerala since May 2011.

The prime accused in the solar scam case is Biju Radhakrishnan.

Biju had in December alleged that a bribe of Rs 5.5 crores has been paid by him to Chandy, out of which Rs 5.1 crore was collected personally by the chief minister while the rest was paid to the Chief Minister’s personal staff.

The CM, while jerking his hands off any such wrongdoings, said he is prepared to face any probe.

The solar scam claims several persons being cheated of crores of rupees by Saritha Nair and her accomplice Biju Radhakrishnan by offering solar panel solutions.

With the arrest of a person believed to have close personal ties with Chandy and alleged to possess links with the accused, the scam took a political turn. The scam further resulted in the removal of two other employees of his personal staff. (Inputs from Agencies)