Updated: January 25, 2021 8:35:54 am
Months ahead of Assembly polls in Kerala, the CPM-led state government has decided to recommend to the CBI the rape cases registered against Congress leader Oommen Chandy and his other party colleagues based on complaints by a woman accused in the 2013 solar scam.
The solar scam during the tenure of the previous government led by Chandy was one of the key issues in the 2016 Assembly elections in which the UDF was routed and the LDF came to power.
The woman alleged she was sexually exploited by Chandy, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, Congress MPs Hibi Eden and Adoor Prakash and former minister A P Anil Kumar. Then Congress leader A P Abdullakutty, who later joined the BJP and became its national vice-president, is also an accused. Although the woman had earlier complained against Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani, who recently joined the LDF, no case has been registered against him.
The state Home Department on Saturday issued a gazette notification, saying the government has decided to refer five cases, registered in 2016, 2018 and 2019, to the CBI.
The judicial commission which probed the solar scam had recommended in 2017 that a case for sexual abuse be registered against Chandy, Venugopal and other Congress leaders. The woman, in a letter to the commission, had alleged that Chandy and others sexually abused her and allowed her solar firm to make illegal gains when Congress was in power.
Thereafter, the CPM government ordered registration of criminal cases against Chandy and others, but there was little progress in the cases as the government got adverse legal advice. Also, Chandy moved the High Court, which quashed the case against him and restrained the media from debating contents of the letter.
The woman then filed new complaints against the Congress leaders and fresh cases were registered. Recently, she approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking a CBI probe into the cases.
The woman told the media that she did not see a political motive behind handing over the cases to CBI. “I had complained against 14 persons, including Jose K Mani. Now, six cases in which FIR has been registered would be handed over to CBI,’’ she said.
CPM state secretary A Vijayaraghavan said the government took a decision based on the complainant’s demand for a CBI probe. “The cases were handed over to CBI as part of ensuring natural justice to the complainant,’’ he said.
Chandy, who has been appointed chairman of the Congress election management and strategy committee, said, “The LDF came to power after staging massive agitations against the UDF government on the solar scam issue. What have they been doing for the last five years? They did not take any action on the complaints. Let CBI probe the issue.”
Congress Chief Whip in Lok Sabha, Kodikunnil Suresh, said the state government’s decision is a “ludicrous political drama”.
Union Minister and BJP leader V Muraleedharan said Vijayan has sensed defeat in the Assembly elections. “Vijayan has been against the CBI probe into FCRA violations in the government housing scheme and twin murders of Youth Congress leaders by CPM cadres. The sudden love for CBI shows the government’s double-standard,’’ he said.
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