THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Saying the Chief Minister’s approach towards his political opponents will be met with stiff resistance from the UDF, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy went on to lay out the procedural irregularities committed in the report.He said Pinarayi had rushed the report through the cabinet meeting and announced a probe on October 11, when the Vengara bypoll was progressing. “He had not informed even the secretary of the Home Department under him or the law secretary. The Cabinet note was not posted in the official website and the terms of reference and report highlights were held back from the media, while announcing plans for a probe, based on the conclusions in the report,” Chandy told reporters.
“Did the government retreat from the announced probe plans twice because of any UDF agitation?” he asked, adding “a new probe, that too based on a letter of Saritha alone, stinks of political vendetta and raises doubts on the approach of the Chief Minister against political opponents. If this is the case, stiff resistance from the UDF can be expected.”
Chandy said the Solar Commission, after issuing a receipt for a 21-page letter of Saritha, had marked a 25-page letter submitted later, which was mentioned in the first and second volumes. The terms of reference for the inquiry was specific; was any loss to the state exchequer owing to my actions and had the government favoured the solar firm in its projects, for which the Commission’s own finding was in the negative.
‘’The commission had set its own terms of reference, despite objections raised by the counsel of the former UDF government. Had it been taken to court, the functioning of the commission itself would have been stayed. The commission, interestingly, has put the cost of security measures to counter the CPM’s solar agitations and establishment costs of the commission itself as exchequer bills,” he said.
Chandy said except for the allegations in the letter, Saritha did not raise the charges of bribe or sexual harassment even once while deposing before the commission. He also read out the court orders against the solar case accused in which her credibility was questioned.
“In the past, she had alleged that CPM leader Saji Cherian of Alappuzha had offered Rs 10 crore for making accusations against UDF leaders. From my experience of her ability to cook up lies, I never believed it. Pinarayi and the CPM should make their stand clear on her allegation. Should they follow the words of such a woman?’’
Bribery and sexual harassment charges
Chandy said he has been in public life for the past 50 years and he was never living in a glass house but among the masses. “If either of the two charges levelled against me were true, people would have detected and exposed it by now. But if there is even one per cent truth in the charges and I am found guilty, I would not remain in public life,” said Chandy.