Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s former personal assistant Tenny Joppan was today remanded to judicial custody in connection with the ‘solar panel’ scam,rocking the state for the last two weeks. Joppan,arrested yesterday after hours of grilling by a special police team probing the case,was produced before the First Class Judicial Magistrate,Pathanamittta,and sent to the district jail for 14 days after all legal formalities.
A long time personal aide of Chandy,he was removed from the CM’s office earlier this month after his alleged links with Saritha Nair in the solar case came to light. The police case against him is that he had gone out of the way to help Saritha clinch a solar energy solution contract
with Sreedharan Nair in Konni in Pathanamthitta. Saritha,who ran a fake company Team Solar,had allegedly received Rs 40 lakh from Nair,promising to secure government support to set up a solar plant at Palakkad.
Joppan had allegedly aided Saritha in the deal misusing his influence in the Chief Minister’s Office. Police said Saritha and her client had met Joppan at the secretariat and they had made frequent telephone calls. Joppan has been charged with Section 420 of IPC (cheating) and Sec 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance). He was found to have made frequent phone calls to Saritha Nair,facing charge of cheating many people of huge sums by offering them solar energy solutions.
With the scam coming to light,Chandy removed Joppan and gunman Salim Raj from his personal staff for their suspected links with Saritha and Biju Radhakrishnan,the two accused in the case. Ever since it came to light,CPI(M)-led LDF opposition has turned it into a lethal political weapon against the Congress led UDF Government,demanding Chandy’s resignation and a judicial probe into the scam.
Another employee in Chandy’s office,Jikkumon Jacob,had resigned earlier this week for alleged links in the case. With various fraudulent deals involving Saritha coming to light,government had also suspended Public Relations Director A Firoz for his alleged links with her in a case here in 2009 and ordered a vigilance inquiry against him. Meanwhile,Chandy,who arrived in the state from a visit to Bahrain,said the ‘guilty will be punished.”
Reacting to reporters queries on the development,he said at Aluva the case would be investigated thoroughly without any interference and the guilty would be punished.