Kerala govt transfers Solar Rip-off case to CBI, Congress claims ‘politically motivated transfer’
In a major development, the Kerala government has decided to refer the sexual harassment case in Solar Scam to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Many congressional leaders, including former Prime Minister Oommen Chandy and National Secretary General KC Venugopal, are among the defendants.
Up to six cases of solar fraud investigated by the Crime Branch have been reported to CBI, according to a statement from the State Home Department. The solar fraud was one of the political planks of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s last general election in 2016 and one of the main reasons behind the overthrow of the Congress-led United Democratic Front government.
Former CM Oommen Chandy and MPs KC Venugopal, Hibi Eden and Adoor Prakash, MLA AP Anil Kumar and former Congressional BJP leader AP Abdulla Kutty are the defendants in the six cases.
The decision to refer the case was made after the complainant, who had alleged rape against the Congress leaders, recently wrote to Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to request a CBI investigation, as the police investigation had limitations. The complainant is also accused of cheating several millions of rupees investors by offering to install solar panels for them. A fraudulent solar energy company, Team Solar Energy, was involved in the solar panel fraud.
In a letter to the Police Commissioner on July 19, 2013, the woman brought charges of sexual misconduct and corruption against several leaders of Congress and the UDF, including Chandy, some of his ministers and two former Union ministers. Oommen Chandy is also charged with taking a bribe of Rs 1.9 billion. Incidentally, the move also comes after Oommen Chandy was appointed head of Congress’s electoral administration committee ahead of the assembly elections, which are expected to take place in May this year.
READ | Kerala sees over 6,000 coronavirus cases daily; Test positive touched 12.48 percent
READ | Gold smuggling in Kerala: CM Pinarayi Vijayan claims that customs officials threatened state officials
The opposition calls it “politically motivated” to move forward before the general election
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has called it a political move in view of the upcoming general election in the state. “The government, which had been in power for five years but couldn’t find anything, turned the case over to the CBI for political purposes in the run-up to the elections,” he said.
“Supreme Court Justice Arijit Pasayat has legally advised the government that the case is not valid and cannot continue. However, with the upcoming general election, cases have been turned over to CBI. The people of Kerala will identify the motive behind the political Move, “he added.
Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan also slammed the decision to the government, saying the decision was made because the government of Pinarayi Vijayan suffered a defeat in the assembly polls for “the loss of face caused by gold smuggling and the Life Mission- Project had suffered “feared.
(With inputs from agencies)
READ | Chennithala accuses CPI-M, Vijayan, of trying to create communal polarization in Kerala
READ | Opposition UDF Stages Strike After Kerala Assembly Opposed Movement To Remove Speaker