THE SOLAR scam is set to haunt the Congress in Kerala again with police registering rape cases against former chief minister Oommen Chandy and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal based on a complaint of scam accused Saritha S Nair.
The judicial commission, which had probed the scam, had recommended that a case for sexual abuse could be registered against Chandy, Venugopal and other Congress leaders. Nair, in a letter submitted to the commission, had alleged that Chandy and others sexually abused her and allowed her solar firm to make illegal gains during the previous Congress regime.
The scandal is related to more than two dozen cases in which complainants alleged that Nair cheated them promising solar power and stake in wind mill projects. Three personal staff of Chandy were involved in the scam.
Based on the commission’s recommendation last November, the CPM government had ordered criminal cases against Chandy and others. However, the cases did not move ahead as the government got adverse legal advice. Besides, Chandy moved the High Court, which earlier this year quashed the case against him and restrained the media from debating the contents of the letter.
Apart from Chandy and Venugopal, Nair had named Congress leaders Adoor Prakash, A P Anil Kumar, both former ministers in the previous Congress regime.
Recently, Nair moved a complaint with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, quoting from the earlier letter, which she had purportedly written in 2013. As the government was advised against registering rape cases against several persons based on a single complaint, Nair recently submitted fresh complaints against Chandy and others. This led to the registering of the cases.
Nair alleged Chandy subjected her to unnatural sex at the chief minister’s official residence in 2012, while Venugopal raped her at the official residence of A P Anil Kumar.
Reacting to the registration of FIR, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the move was politically motivated. The CPM-led government, which lost face in the Sabarimala issue, wanted to divert attention, he said.