Congress, Left in Kerala spar over solar panel scam

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 11 (IANS) The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and the opposition Left on Friday continued to indulge in political recriminations over the solar panel scam.

The UDF announced protest meetings in all 140 assembly constituencies in Kerala on December 12 against the opposition “attempts to tarnish” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s public image in the 2013 scam.

On the other hand, opposition leaders said a CD that one of the prime accused talked of was got removed by Chandy and his supporters. They demanded the chief minister’s resignation in the matter.

“The Left opposition should not stoop to such levels and dance to the tunes of a criminal. We will hold protest meetings in all 140 assembly segments tomorrow (Saturday),” said UDF convener P.P. Thankachen.

“Both inside and outside the assembly, the opposition is playing a cruel game to tarnish Chandy’s image on the basis of a criminal’s statement. They should stop this slander or else the UDF will strongly counter it,” state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran said.

Last week, solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishnan told a judicial commission that he had in his possession a video recording allegedly showing his live-in partner Saritha Nair in compromising situation with Chandy and two cabinet colleagues.

Radhakrishnan was taken by police on Thursday to get hold of the alleged video compact disc but no such evidence was found till late Thursday night. A few documents were seized from a home in Coimbatore.

On Friday, Radhakrishnan told reporters that vested interests, including Saritha Nair, had removed the evidence before the commission team reached Coimbatore.

On the other hand, Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders on Friday again raked up the CD issue.

“It is very shameful of a chief minister to get involved in such things,” said V.S. Achuthanandan of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

“All this happened because of his closeness to a lady,” said CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan.

“The video evidence has been removed by Chandy and his associates,” said state CPI-M secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Both Nair and Radhakrishnan are accused of cheating investors by promising to supply solar panels worth crores of rupees. There are many other cases of cheating registered against them.

The Rs.7-crore solar panel scam rocked the Chandy government in 2013. Three staff members with alleged links with Saritha Nair were later sacked by Chandy.

While Saritha Nair is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is yet to get bail as he is an accused in a murder case as well.

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