The solar scandal which rocked the previous Congress government in Kerala has got a twist with a former Kerala Congress (B) leader alleging that the rape charge by the accused against former chief minister Oommen Chandy was a conspiracy at the behest of former minister K B Ganesh Kumar, who did not want his relationship with the woman exposed and had a “grudge against Chandy” for not re-inducting him into the Cabinet.
Despite repeated attempts, Kumar was not available for comment.
Former state secretary of Kerala Congress (B) Manoj Kumar alias Saranya Manoj, who is a close relative of Left-backed legislator and Kerala Congress (B) leader Kumar, recently joined the Congress. Talking to the media on Saturday, he said Kumar had intervened several times after the arrest of the accused to change the statement of the woman. “Kumar had a long standing relationship with the complainant woman. When the solar scam cropped up, he wanted that relationship not exposed. As his close relative, I had urged the complainant and her advocates not to name Kumar anywhere in the case,” he said, adding that Kumar had a grudge against Chandy after he was forced to quit the Cabinet over the domestic violence case moved by his wife.
Addressing an election meeting in Kollam on Friday, Manoj said, “There was no allegation against Oommen Chandy. His name was added in the letter, purportedly written by the woman, at the behest of Ganesh Kumar. When the solar case emerged with the arrest of the woman… Kumar knew that he would be an accused. He pleaded with me to help. Kumar wanted the woman to name Chandy and his name was deliberately added in her letter.”
Manoj also alleged that Kumar’s office secretary Pradeep Kottathala had also intervened to tutor the woman to repeatedly change her statement. Incidentally, Kottathala was arrested last week on charges of threatening a prosecution witness in the case pertaining to the abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor.
The solar scam came up in 2013 when a con woman and her partner were arrested on charges of cheating several prospective investors in the solar sector. In a letter purportedly written by her, the woman had alleged that several Congress leaders had sexually abused her, claiming that the then chief minister had subjected her to unnatural sex at his official residence in 2012.
The woman had repeated the allegation before a judicial panel which probed the scam. The panel in 2017 had recommended that a case of sexual abuse be registered against Chandy and other Congress leaders. But the government got adverse legal advice and did not pursue it. Chandy moved the high court and got the FIR against him quashed.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines