Big blow to Congress in Kerala: Oommen Chandy, others to be probed on Solar scam

Former Kerala Chief Minister took bribes directly and indirectly, finds inquiry commission appointed by him on Solar scam; other Congress leaders face charges of impropriety and sexual assault  

Published: 11th October 2017 11:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2017 12:53 PM   |  A+A-

Former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking cognizance of the findings of an inquiry commission that Congress leader Oommen Chandy had received bribe with regard to the solar scam, the Kerala government has announced a Vigilance probe.

The former chief minister, who was acquitted by a Bengaluru court a few days ago, has been found to have "directly and indirectly taken a bribe". The findings were reported by the Justice Sivarajan Commission, which was appointed by Oommen Chandy himself when he was in office and plagued by corruption allegations with regard to the solar scam.

Taking cognizance of the findings of the Justice Sivarajan Commission, the Pinarayi Vijayan Government has ordered the Vigilance probe against Chandy on corruption charges in addition to a criminal case by a Special Investigation Team led by DGP Rajesh Diwan.

Apart from Chandy, several Congress leaders will also face probe. A criminal case will be registered against former home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan for "destroying evidence and wrongly influencing police officials" while former power minister Aryadan Mohammed will face a Vigilance probe under corruption charges and a SIT probe.

Dropping a virtual bombshell into the Congress camp, a case on sexual harassment and rape charges will be registered against several Congress leaders who have been named in the letter, dated July 19, 2013 by solar scam prime accused Saritha S Nair. Saritha Nair had alleged that she was sexually assaulted and raped by a number of leaders including KC Venugopal, Hibi Eden, AP Abdullakutty and AP Anil Kumar.

Oommen Chandy's former office staff - Tenny Joppen, Jikkumon Joseph, Salim Raj and Kuruvila in Delhi - will also face criminal charges. Further investigation will be carried out against them.

Announcing the decisions after the cabinet meet, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said a Commission led by former High Court judge Justice CN Ramachandran Nair will be appointed to look into the necessary actions to be taken for police reforms and related matters. If new evidences come out, that will also be probed by registering cases.

The Cabinet meet which looked into the report accepted all the findings of Justice Sivarajan Commission and legal advice given by the Advocate General and Director General of Prosecution. Cases will also be registered against Congress leaders Thampannor Ravi and Benny Behnan.

Cases are also to be registered against senior IPS officers ADGP Hemachandran and K Padmakumar. Department level action will be initiated against them.  Hemachandran, currently heading the CB CID, has been removed and posted as CMD of KSRTC while K Padmakumar has been made Market Fed MD.

Speaking in Thrissur, Ommen Chandy said he hasn't done anything wrong. "I'm fully confident that I haven't done anything wrong.  Don't think that Congress or I can be weakened with this case," Chandy said.

Meanwhile Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the announcement about the cases targeting Congress leaders at a time when the Vengara bypoll was on was a politically motivated move.

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