Salim Raj, who was serving as the gunman of Oommen Chandy for a long time, had earned an image of an invincible cop, thanks to his gutsy manoeuvring skills and muscle and money power, virtually on the strength of the clout as a staff in the Chief Minister’s stable and more, errand boy of Chandy’s family members.
He had landed in trouble after the records of the telephone contacts with solar conwoman Saritha S Nair came to light. Chandy removed him from the staff team on June 15, 2013. Right from the eruption of the solar case, Salim Raj was a name often mentioned by the Opposition as a prime accused.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the solar scam, however, has given him a clean chit in the case. But many allegations against him were based on his own antecedents refused to go away. Though the police Special Branch had recommended not to include him in the CM’s staff, Chandy didn’t care for it, primarily for the reason that he hails from his Puthupally Assembly segment.
The police report had clearly mentioned an incident wherein Salim Raj had assaulted his superior officer at Nedumkandam in Idukki district, while serving there years ago. He made his way into Chandy’s team, and consolidated his position during the former’s first innings as CM in 2004-06. He remained comfortable, even when his name was linked to many personal issues of the family members of Chandy.
Even when he was in the CM’s team, Salim Raj’s dabbling in many controversial issues had no end. He was known to prevail upon revenue and police higher-ups by making making use of his position as a CM’s staff member in land deals and many other issues. However, his clout got a beating and eventually landed in a couple of cases, including land grabbing. One case relates to the attempt by Salim Raj to grab 12.27 acres of land at Kadakampally village in the state capital by forging documents and influencing officials. It is said that he may save his skin in the case, since attempts are there to exempt him from the accused list.
Salim Raj’s tricks didn’t work well with people of Karikkamkulam in Kozhikode when he allegedly tried to take law into his hands and chased a man and woman and assaulted them in front of the public.
Salim Raj alleged that the woman, who is the wife of his friend at Oachira in Kollam, had eloped with the man with valuables. People became furious and detained him when Salim Raj flaunted his identity card and boasted his political connections.