Kerala CM Oommen Chandy to appeal order in solar scam, Congress jittery

Antony, Wasnik meet Sonia as party braces for Kerala polls.

Written by Manoj C G , Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram/new Delhi | Updated: January 29, 2016 8:23 am
Solar scam case, Solar scam case kerala, FIR against Oommen Chandy, solar scam, Oommen Chandy, Oommen Chandy, Kerala solar scam, Oommen Chandy solar scam, chandy in solar scam, kerala CM Oommen Chandy, kerala CM Solar scam, Kerala news Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. (Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

Alarming the Congress high command in Delhi, and with barely three months left for assembly elections in Kerala, a Vigilance court today ordered the registration of an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the solar scam.

The court’s direction came a day after one of the accused in the scam, Saritha S Nair, alleged that she paid Rs 1.9 crore as bribe to Chandy. It also triggered calls for Chandy’s resignation but the Congress leader said he “cannot be ousted after being humiliated with allegations”.

“If there is an iota of substance in the allegation, I will quit public life,” he said. Later, after holding discussions with party leaders and legal experts in Kochi, Chandy said he would file an appeal in the High Court on Friday against the order of the Vigilance court in Thrissur.

Chandy’s stand appeared to have been endorsed by a “nervous” party in Delhi, where it was decided that the embattled Chief Minister need not resign “at this stage”. The decision was taken after senior leader and former Kerala CM A K Antony, and state in-charge Mukul Wasnik, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Sources said the party has decided to “wait and watch”.

A senior Congress leader described the developments as “serious” and said the party had little option but to “battle it out” since the elections were months away. “We are caught in a catch-22 situation. The Chief Minister’s resignation, even if citing moral grounds, would virtually mean acceptance of guilt. His continuation would fuel the Opposition’s agitation,” said the leader.

“Chandy has said that he is going to discuss all issues with all coalition partners and colleagues. A detailed report would also be submitted to the Congress party leadership in this regard,” said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.

However, even though state Congress chief V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala came out in support of Chandy, a section of the party’s local leadership holds the view that he “should go without further embarrassing the party and its government on the eve of elections”.

Sources said the party is now pinning its hopes on getting a stay from the High Court on the Vigilance court’s order. The High Court today stayed a similar order by the same court against K Babu, a minister who is believed to be close to Chandy and who resigned last week, based on allegations that he had pocketed a bribe from bar owners to reduce their annual licence fee.

The High Court said the Vigilance court’s order was in haste and ordered the Vigilance bureau to submit a quick verification report within 10 days.

While ordering an FIR against Chandy, Vigilance Judge S S Vassan acted upon a public interest litigation filed by activist P D Joseph who produced newspaper reports regarding Nair’s allegations. The court forwarded the complaint to the state Vigilance chief to investigate the charges under Cr PC section 156 (3).

Chandy, meanwhile, sought to link Nair’s allegations to the legal tussle that his government was involved in with bar owners in the state following the new liquor policy that led to over 400 bars being shut down.

“The bar hotel owners who lost their case in the Supreme Court are behind the allegations. They want to dethrone the government as its liquor policy had affected their business,” he said.

Meanwhile, deposing before the judicial commission probing the scam on Thursday, Nair levelled fresh allegations against Chandy, claiming the Chief Minister had asked her mother over the phone to tell her not to reveal facts about the case. She claimed that her mother told her about the call in 2013, during a visit to meet her in jail.

She also levelled allegations against the Opposition Left Front, claiming that the CPI(M) had offered her Rs 10 crore to speak against Chandy. “It was in 2014 that the CPI (M) made the offer. But I didn’t take it up as there was no guarantee,” she said.

Apart from Chandy, the Vigilance court also ordered the registration of an FIR against Power Minister Aryadan Muhammed based on the allegations levelled by Nair. Muhammed, too, is expected to move a separate appeal in the court.

Apart from Chandy, Muhammed and Nair, others arraigned as respondents in the complaint are Chandy’s former aides Jikkumon Jacob, Tenny Joppen, former minister K B Ganesh Kumar, Kumar’s private secretary Pradeep Kumar and Muhammed’s private secretary Keshavan.

On Wednesday, Nair had alleged before the judicial commission probing the case that she had “bribed” Chandy to obtain government subsidy and other benefits for her solar energy venture. She also alleged that Minister Muhammed was paid Rs 40 lakh for the same reason.

Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan together floated the firm Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Private Limited in 2011, and were arrested in 2013 for allegedly duping investors from whom they collected crores for a solar power project. Last month, Radhakrishnan, now serving life term for the murder of his wife, claimed before the commission that he had paid Rs 5.5 crore to Chandy as bribe.

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  1. A
    Aj1481
    Jan 29, 2016 at 2:47 am
    The real rrason behind misdirection called the 'kerala house beef controversy' was to deflect from this issue from being pushed to limelight, same strategy like congress b team kejriwal to cry wolf and act like victim if youre going to be caught...
    Reply
    1. A
      Amit
      Jan 29, 2016 at 12:19 am
      Congress is badly exposed and fu cked up.......................... IE is not reporting the complete story.
      Reply
      1. K
        Kanu Patel
        Jan 29, 2016 at 1:23 am
        This is not a breaking news. Corruption is the culture of the party and always endorsed and supported by the high command. Now camel has come near the mountain. Let them face their deeds.
        Reply
        1. P
          Paul
          Jan 29, 2016 at 1:50 am
          Is there anything surprising? He belongs to Congress. This is the only thing they are good at. Corruption ,corruption and more corruption. They have bled the country white?
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          1. M
            MyTake
            Jan 29, 2016 at 12:58 am
            Expect some Congress magic soon either it is minority issue or Dalit issue or award return issue something of similar nature!
            Reply
            1. M
              MyTake
              Jan 29, 2016 at 1:00 am
              In Bengal they are already trying to come together to drown any voice of reason that may arise in forthcoming election! What Bengals thinks today, India (include Kerala) thinks tomorrow!
              Reply
              1. T
                TIHAEwale
                Jan 29, 2016 at 6:15 am
                Sarita Nair and Biju RadhaKrishnan are dubious characters but unfortunately these shady characters have free access to authorities in power and they can be found all over India
                Reply
                1. T
                  TIHAEwale
                  Jan 28, 2016 at 8:41 am
                  Looks like a case of high level of judicial activism and we have to wait and watch the reading of higher court as and when CM and Aryadan Mohd approach high court for quashing the lower quart order
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Rajesh
                    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:52 am
                    Another thief from the party of criminals.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Rajesh
                      Jan 28, 2016 at 7:24 am
                      Chandy is just another CONgi thief.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Rajesh
                        Jan 28, 2016 at 8:51 am
                        Why mad dog Khujliwala not barking and demanding Chandy's resignation? Strange how Khujli has time to make fake allegations against BJP leaders and demand they resign, but he defends criminals like Lalu, Somnath Bharti, Sheila etc.
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          sonu
                          Jan 29, 2016 at 2:35 am
                          presute media still supporting corrupt congress. has he been bjp cm media opposition would have asked for his public hanging. hindus plz see through it. events in kerala arunanchal show that sonia is here to spread Christianity she will back Christian cms at any cost. hindus in congress should see it. they have no future in congress. hinuo jago before ur religion culture n civilization is destro by muslims n Christian missionaries. then u will be treated like yezidis
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Ravi
                            Jan 28, 2016 at 8:18 am
                            Chandy is clean like sea water-Gods own country- I think Modi is destabilizing Congress Govt in Kerala by court- sad day for Democracy and wants remove congress from power at any cost...
                            Reply
                            1. G
                              George Cruz
                              Jan 29, 2016 at 1:53 am
                              The Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is arrogant, corrupt, and intoxicated with looted wealth and refused to resign. The communist s, the congress party pseudo secular s, and the Christians/Muslims who are blinded by their religion fully support the congress party for their self interests and not in the interests of the country. Rahul hi will visit Kerala, will hold a rally and blame the BJP of falsely accusing the CM Chandy.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                surjitsinghPagal
                                Jan 29, 2016 at 4:50 am
                                what is a puppy Rahul doing in this episode...seems enyoing vacations outside india
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  surjitsinghPagal
                                  Jan 29, 2016 at 6:44 am
                                  what is a puppy Rahul doing in this episode...seems enyoing vacations outside india ,
                                  Reply
                                  1. F
                                    Freedom
                                    Jan 28, 2016 at 7:35 am
                                    Chandy should undergo lie detection test. The government need to pacify several factions of people. For that they need money. They collect it as bribe. The phone conversation with Aryadan Muhammed is leaked. Sarita is a hero for doing this. From the conversation it is very clear that Chandy is deeply involved in the scandal. Kerala haven't seen such a dirtiest and filthy minister.
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      Karan Kadam
                                      Jan 29, 2016 at 4:34 am
                                      U have got chance Keralites , Vote BJP for upcoming elections
                                      Reply
                                      1. K
                                        kulaputra kulaputra
                                        Jan 29, 2016 at 1:23 am
                                        It is easier to get things done in high court as opposed to lo lower courts. We have seen that in J Jayalalitha case. Long live incorruptible judges like Michael D'Cunha
                                        Reply
                                        1. K
                                          kulaputra kulaputra
                                          Jan 29, 2016 at 1:25 am
                                          Kha-ngress at it again. Where are all the award -wapsi brigade ? This corruption is fine and we need to tolerate it is the message from Nataka (Akademy) people ?
                                          Reply
                                          1. T
                                            T
                                            Jan 29, 2016 at 12:03 am
                                            "She also levelled allegations against the Opposition Left Front, claiming that the CPI(M) had offered her Rs 10 crore to speak against Chandy. “It was in 2014 that the CPI (M) made the offer. But I didn’t take it up as there was no guarantee,” she said." So now she has received the necessary guarantees. And that explains that!
                                            Reply
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