N S Sajith
DARK clouds of a political turmoil are hovering over Oommen Chandy’s future as the chief minister, as the kingpin of a solar plan scam involving several crores of rupees has revealed about her nexus with the chief minister and his colleagues. Sarita Nair, who runs this under-controversy solar plant and windmill firm, is said to have perpetrated frauds amounting to crores of rupees, and she has now revealed to the police that the chief minister and his ministers had helped her run the business (!) it has been leant that Sarita Nair, who is now in judicial custody, was called by and met the chief minister many a time. When the call records were made public, the chief minister removed his private secretary Tenny Joppen and gunman Salim Raj on June 14.
In the Kerala legislative assembly, home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan informed that an Additional DGP was deputed to investigate the issue. The opposition has demanded that the chief minister should resign and that a judicial inquiry must be ordered.
Sarita Nair was arrested in the second week of June in a fraud case and remanded. The interrogation revealed that various big shots in the Congress party and the cabinet had been helping her from the very inception of her firm. Sarita, while in police custody, confessed that the chief minister had issued a letter to her firm and that this letter was used to woo the investors.
In the meanwhile, her husband and director of the Team Solar company, Biju Radhakrishnan, whom the police was searching, revealed that Sarita had indeed met the chief minister and some of the ministers including the former minister K B Ganesh Kumar. He said he too, along with his wife, had met the chief minister and that she had had illicit relations with Ganesh Kumar. He also added that Sarita and Ganesh spent much time in a hotel in Coimbatore.
Soon after it, central minister K C Venugopal confessed that he had met Sarita.
The revelations pouring out in the media regarding this scam tell us about the gigantic fraud committed by Sarita’s firm in the name of installing solar power plants. Previously, it was daily Deshabhimani and TV channel Kairali which had made the call records public. Other media organisations, which were reluctant to carry the stories initially, later felt compelled to carry the news.
CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has demanded immediate resignation of the chief minister. In a statement he said that a judicial probe must also be ordered.
Opposition leader in Kerala assembly, V S Achuthandan, has also demanded the chief minister’s resignation and a judicial enquiry.
Over the preceding four days, when revelations about the links between the chief minister and the directors of this notorious and fraudulent solar plant firm --- Team Solar --- heaped up and when the mobile phone call records were made public, various individuals came forward with complaints against Sarita S Nair and her husband, Biju Radhakrishnan. Surprisingly, even though Biju Radhakrishnan is a proclaimed criminal and an absconder, he has frequently been giving telephonic interviews to news channels.
After the shocking revelations came out, the chief minister sought to outrightly deny his involvement; this he did in the assembly as well as in media. But when more revelations came up, he began to show reluctance to interact with the media.
Various organisations including the DYFI have organised black flag demonstrations in front of the chief minister at various places. Fearing a heightening of the protest, Oommen Chandy cancelled all his public functions in Puthuppali, his own constituency. In the meanwhile, KPCC spokesperson M M Hassan reacted that the chief minister would quit if the allegations were proved. Chandy’s arch rival and KPCC president, Ramesh Chennithala, took a clever position, saying that the opposition is in the habit of unnecessarily raking up issues.
After Biju Radhakrishanan asserted that he indeed had had one hour chat with the chief minister. This too put the chief minister in a quandary of new problems. While the opposition has decided to take up this issue in the assembly, youth organisations have planned protest marches to demand the chief minister’s resignation.