Chandy dismisses bribery charges in solar scam

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 27 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday dismissed allegations of bribery in the solar scam levelled against him by Saritha Nair, one of the main accused in the case.

His comments came after Nair deposed first before the judicial commission probing the case. She later told reporters at Kochi that she had given Rs.1.90 crore in two instalments which, she claimed, was part of the Rs.7 crore bribe demanded by Chandy through his then staff Jikumon.

“Even a Rs.2 cheque she gave to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund had bounced and then they say they gave crores (of rupees) as bribe money. This is not tenable,” Chandy told reporters.

Chandy also questioned the benefits Nair’s company allegedly got from the state government.

“The state government has not given any benefits to their company, nor has this scam caused a single paisa loss to the exchequer,” said Chandy.

On Wednesday, Nair said: “I gave Rs.1.10 crore to Thomas Kuruvilla in Delhi and another Rs.80 lakh in the state capital. I was arrested 15 days after giving the second instalment.”

Nair also said that she had given Rs.40 lakh to State Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed.

Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan were arrested in the solar scam in 2013.

While Nair is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is still in custody after it came to light that he murdered his first wife.

“I waited all this while expecting I will get back the money I gave, but now I feel it’s time to open up,” said Nair.

CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan demanded Chandy’s resignation after Nair’s disclosure.

State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran backed Chandy and said this was the latest release in the series of canards and was timed with an eye to the upcoming assembly elections.

“Kerala will take this disclosure with a pinch of salt and none will pay heed to what has been alleged,” said Sudheeran.

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