Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy recently for the first time appeared before a judicial commission probing the solar panel scam that has rocked the state since 2013 and testified for several hours.The testifying that started in the morning continued in the night also with a one-hour break for lunch in the afternoon and a short 10 minutes break in the night.Chandy, during the deposition, maintained that the charges against him and his office were ‘politically motivated’ and denied any wrong-doing.
Today’s development assumes significance as this is the first time a chief minister in Kerala is appearing before a judicial commission.The commission was on its final stage of evidence taking on the scam that caused a huge embarrassment to the Congress- led UDF government.The Kochi-based commission held the sitting here at the Government Guest house to enable Chandy to depose as per an earlier request of the chief minister.Justice Sivarajan, heading the Commission, heard and recorded Chief Minister’s version for nearly two hours in the morning sitting.
After a short break, the Commission met again where lawyers who are party to the case cross-examined Chandy.
Rejecting charges that he and his office had helped the ‘Team Solar Company, that committed the fraud, Chandy said after the scam broke out, the state government had initiated stern steps to bring the ‘fraudsters’–Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S Nair–before law.”This government ensured punishment to the fraudsters who were committing crime since 2005. The conviction and sentence of the accused in the case clearly showed the commitment of this government towards the scam,” he added.
“The Opposition parties have so far not been able to bring before the Commission a single evidence to support their charges that ‘myself and my office’ helped the Team Solar Company,” Chandy said.On removing two staff members after the scam broke out, he said “Action was taken even though I had a long years of association with them because lapses had occurred on their part. But, unfortunately, Opposition parties magnified those aspects and used them as a political weapon to attack me.”Chandy also said he came to know about the Team Solar Company and fraud committed by it only when the scam broke out. .