Solar scam: TV actress Shalu Menon taken into custody - The New Indian Express

Solar scam: TV actress Shalu Menon taken into custody

Published: 05th July 2013 06:03 PM

Last Updated: 05th July 2013 06:07 PM

In a significant development in the solar panel scam rocking Kerala, police today took into custody dancer and tele serial actress Shalu Menon for her alleged links with the prime accused in the case Biju Radhakrishnan.

According to police, Shalu was picked up from her home at Changanassery near Kottayam and taken to nearby Chengannur for questioning by the special investigation team headed by ADGP Hemachandran.

The scam, pertaining to fraudulent deals running into huge sums pushed by Saritha Nair and accomplice Biju, has brought the office of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy under a cloud with the arrest of one of his close personal aides and removal of two others from his staff.

Ever since the scam broke out pushing the Chandy government in backfoot, name of Shalu has figured for her suspected links with Biju and a magistrate court at Thrissur yesterday directed police to file an FIR against her.

She had been under scanner right from the start and the investigators came across evidences that pointed that she had helped Biju escape from the state, sources said.

Biju, also wanted in connection with the death of his wife in suspicious circumstances besides being the co-accused in the solar cheating case along with Saritha, was arrested from Coimbatore a few days back.

Though she claimed of her innocence in the case, phone call details and pictures showing Shalu's links with Biju have been beamed by local media.

The opposition LDF had also been pressing for her arrest after it was found that several top politicians, including Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan had visited her home or the dance school she runs.

The scam also had its reflection on the factional equations in the Congress in the state as the telephone call details gathered by investigators showed that several ministers and political leaders had made calls to Saritha, apart from getting frequent calls from her.

A section in the Congress has blamed the Home Minister for the leak out of the call details to media holding that this would not have happened without his tacit approval.

Apart from demanding Chandy's resignation, the opposition LDF has also trained its guns on Radhakrishnan by seizing on calls Saritha had made to him and his visit to the home of Salu.

Radhakrishnan and other ministers, however, had dismissed the charge as baseless holding that as public figures and ministers they would get hundreds of calls a day and it would be impossible to ascertain the identity of all those who call them.

Both Saritha and Biju have been arrested and remanded for cheating huge sums of money from several persons offering them solar energy solutions.

A magistrate court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of former Personal Assistant of Chandy and police are on the lookout for former Director of Public Relations Department, A Firoze, for his alleged links with fraudsters.

Meanwhile, seeking to send the image of unity, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said the LDF's move to weaken the government would be faced boldly and unitedly by the Congress and its UDF partners.

"The LDF is trying to create a smokescreen over the solar issue and its designs will be thwarted by the Congress and its allies," Chennithala told reporters after a meeting with the UDF convener P P Thankachan here.

The LDF has unleashed a massive struggle over the issue and had stalled the proceedings repeatedly in the assembly, forcing the government to adjourn the House mid-way by passing demands for grants through guillotine route earlier this month.

The House is scheduled to resume on July 18 and expected to be stormy again as the LDF continued to be unrelenting in its demand for resignation of Chandy and a judicial probe into the entire gamut of the scam.

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