In fresh trouble for Kerala’s former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and several of his colleagues in the Congress party in connection with the infamous solar scam, the Crime Branch of the State police is set to start a new probe into the serious allegations leveled against them by Saritha S Nair, prime accused in the scandal.
The probe by a special Crime Branch team headed by an Inspector General is being launched as per the instruction Director General of Police Loknath Behera received from Marxist Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The investigators will look into the various allegations – including those of sexual exploitation and bribery – Saritha had leveled against Chandy and others.
The new investigation is based on a complaint Saritha had lodged with the Cantonment Women Police Station in Thiruvananthapuram in 2014. The Chief Minister ordered the probe after she approached him with the request for further probe. The Cantonment police have reportedly handed over Saritha’s complaint to the Crime Branch.
The Justice G Sivarajan Commission, which is presently looking into the solar scam, is considering the financial aspects of the scandal and not the other allegations. In her complaint to the Chief Minister, Saritha said that neither the judicial commission nor the police had taken her allegations seriously.
Saritha’s complaint was against former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his son Chandy Oommen, former Union Minister KC Venugopal, former State Ministers Aryadan Muhammad, AP Anilkumar and Adoor Prakash, several MLAs and MPs (all belonging to the Congress), Jose K Mani MP of the Kerala Congress (M) and at least three senior police officials.
According to her, she was exploited financially as well as sexually by the leaders who promised to get Central approval for the solar power company – Team Solar Energy Solutions – she had been running with her former live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan and to allot the mega solar projects the State Government had envisaged to it when Chandy was the Chief Minister.
Saritha had earlier alleged that Chandy had taken Rs 1.9 crore from her through one of his unofficial aides while a letter she had allegedly written while in detention in scam-related cases had said that Chandy had raped her at the CM’s official residence. Chandy had responded to the charge with a defamation case against her and the TV channels which telecast the report.
The new probe would also cover Saritha’s allegation that Additional DGP K Padmakumar, who was in charge of the earlier probe, had destroyed evidences and that former Congress MLA AP Abdullakutty had sexually abused her. According to her, these aspects had not been looked into by the judicial commission or the police.
While deposing before the judicial commission, Biju Radhakrishnan had claimed that he had in his possession video evidence for the relationship between Chandy and Saritha. Though the police had taken him to Coimbatore to recover this, he had not been able to produce it and this had lent credibility to Chandy’s claims of innocence.
The infamous solar scam pertains to the duping of several people of crores of rupees by Saritha, who allegedly acted as a con woman, and Biju Radhakrishnan by promising to install solar projects and windmills. It was alleged that the duo had with the help of aides of Chandy made the chief minister’s office their operational base for the fraudulent business.
According to sources, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wants a new probe into the scam because sexual exploitation of a woman by people in power – if it is true – is a serious matter. At the same time, he has reportedly made it clear to the police chief that neither he nor his party, the CPI(M), wants to make political mileage out of the probe.