Kerala Law Minister A K Balan on Saturday brushed aside Oommen Chandy’s demand for a copy of the report on the solar scam probe in which the ex-chief minister is an accused, saying there is no obligation to provide such documents to those facing charges.
The minister’s response comes after Chandy alleged that he was being denied “natural justice” by the CPI-M-led LDF government which refused to provide him a copy of the inquiry report.
The multi-crore solar panel scam relates to a fraudulent company collecting money from people by leveraging its connections with top government officials. A vigilance probe has been announced against Chandy in this case.
Balan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that copies of the report of the Justice G Sivarajan commission will not be made public till it is tabled in the state assembly.
“There are no rules which stipulate that those facing charges have to be given copies,” he said. Chandy said at Kochi, “We have sought copies of the commission report under Right to Information Act and if it is not provided, would approach chief minister for a copy.”
Balan said since the report has not been placed in the House, “through RTI also, a copy of the report cannot be given.”
Soon after the government ordered a probe into the scam on October 11, Chandy had moved an application before the state chief secretary seeking a copy of the report on the scam under the relevant provisions of the RTI Act.
“Haven’t got the report so far. It is denial of natural justice,” Chandy, who is preparing for a legal battle against the government on the issue, said.
Responding to the former chief minister’s charge, Balan said the solar report would first be tabled in the House. “Until the report is tabled in the assembly, copies of the same will not be handed out to anyone,” he said. Chandy has also been informed about this, he added.
Besides Chandy, the government had on October 11 ordered a vigilance and SIT probe against two of his former cabinet colleagues – Aryadan Mohammed and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan – in connection with the multi-crore scam.
Chandy and other Congress leaders have said they will challenge the decision. Two former Congress MLAs – Benny Behanan and Thampanoor Ravi – had also been brought under the ambit of the SIT probe.
The commission was appointed by the previous Oommen Chandy government after allegations surfaced about the duping of several people of crores of rupees by prime accused Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan who offered them solar panel solutions.
Announcing the probe, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said a criminal case would be registered and the “SIT will probe allegations of rape levelled by Saritha against some politicians in her letter on July 17, 2013.”
Former KPCC president V M Sudheeran said “the situation after the report has come out is serious.”
“The seriousness of the situation has been communicated to the Congress leadership,” he said, adding there was no need for a public debate on the matter.