Solar scam, a timeline: Crores swindled, sexual favours alleged, bribes collected

In 2013, Saritha S Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, Directors of a fraudulent company called "The Team Solar Energy Company," looted crores of rupees.

Published: 11th October 2017 06:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2017 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

Probes proved the direct involvement of Kerala CM Oomen Chandy (File | EPS)

By Online Desk

The decision of the state government to announce a Vigilance probe against the Congress veteran in the light of the findings by the Solar Commission has brought the Solar case once again to the political forefront. In 2013, the two prime accused in the case- Saritha S Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, Directors of a fraudulent company called "The Team Solar Energy Company," took crores of rupees in advance from many investors, and never delivered the promised services.

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

Probes proved the direct involvement of the then UDF Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's office staffs in aiding the duo. Many ruling legislators were accused of having direct involvement in the scam.

Here is the story of the of the controversial case so far, as it happened.

2013 June: Saritha S Nair is arrested for cheating and the High Court orders an investigation against Team Solar. Biju Radhakrishnan is arrested the following week from Coimbatore for the alleged murder of his first wife Reshmi. Tenny Joppan, former PA of the CM is arrested on 28 June.

2013 July: Phone call report of Saritha revealed her record of communication with four state ministers including Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

Sridharan Nair, a quarry owner, claimed that Saritha arranged a meeting with the Chief Minister at his office, which the CM immediately denied.

The first charge sheet against Saritha submitted on 30 July.

The Congress High Command rejected Chandy's readiness to resign and asked him to continue in the post.

2013 August: The opposition LDF launched state-wide protests demanding the Chief Minister's resignation.

A judicial probe is ordered following a Secretariat blockade by the left parties.

2013 September: Salim Raj, gunman of the Chief Minister is arrested.

2013 October:  Retired High Court judge G Sivarajan appointed as a one-man commission on 23 October.

2013 December: With Saritha's advocate Fenny Balakrishnan's claim to possess "private videos" of UDF legislators, LDF intensified protest campaigns.

2014 January: Biju Radhakrishnan is sentenced to life imprisonment in Reshmi murder case.

2014 February: Saritha is released from jail.

2014 July: She denied before the Commission the involvement of any Ministers or MLAs in the scam.

2015 April: A letter said to be written by Saritha from Pathanamthitta jail, naming many UDF leaders' went public.

2015 October: The term of the Solar Commission is extended until April 2016.

2015 December: Biju Radhakrishnan accused Congressmen KC Venugopal (MP of Alappuzha Constituency), Aryadan Muhammed (then Electricity Minister), and  Kerala Congress (B) MLA KB Ganesh Kumar of demanding money.

2016 January: Oommen Chandy confirmed before the Commission that he had met Saritha thrice.

One day later, Saritha contradicts her earlier statement and confess of having bribed the CM. She also accused Aryadan Muhammed of receiving Rs 40 lakhs rupees. Chandy maintained that the charges against him and his office were 'politically motivated.'

2016 August:  Bijo Alexander, the nodal officer assisting the Justice Sivarajan Commission, confirmed that there were 14 cases pending against Saritha Biju, apart from the scam-related ones.

Chandy, along with 20 other witnesses is summoned by the Commission again.

2016 October: A Bengaluru City Civil and Sessions Court ordered Chandy and Kochi-based SCOSSA Educational Consultants Private Ltd to pay up over Rs 1.6 crore to Bengaluru-based real estate consultant MK Kuruvila, who was a victim of the solar team.

2016 December: On 16 December, Perumbavoor Judicial First Class Magistrate Court sentenced Saritha and Biju for three-year imprisonment in the first scam related case.

Dancer and actress Shalu Menon and her mother, who were also accused in the case, were acquitted.

Chandy appeared before the Commission for a cross-examination on 23 December.

2017 April: The Bengaluru Court set aside its earlier ex-parte decree which asked Chandy to pay Rs 1.6 crore with interest to Kuruvilla.

2017 September: The commission submitted its report before Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on September 26.

2017 October: On 8 October, Bengaluru Additional City Civil and Sessions Court acquitted Oommen Chandy in Kuruvilla case.

Three days later, the state government announces a Vigilance investigation against  Chandy on the basis of the Commission's findings.

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 Special Investigation Team probe.

A case on sexual harassment and rape charges will be registered against several Congress leaders who have been named in the letter by Saritha.Oommen Chandy's former office staff - Tenny Joppen, Jikkumon Joseph, Salim Raj will also face criminal charges.

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