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Solar scam report comes under fire, senior police official to conduct further probe

IANS  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

Senior legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and some others indicted by the solar probe report have criticised the Justice G. Sivarajan (Retd) panel over the manner of its probe, even as the on Friday appointed Rajesh Diwan to conduct further investigation in the 2013 scam.

Diwan is expected to start the probe from Saturday.

A day after the 'explosive' solar judicial probe report was placed in the Kerala Assembly that spoke of corruption (bribe given) and sexual harassment that the prime accused in the solar scam case - Sartiha Nair -- had to undergo and other charges, the report has come under fire from some of those named by the report.

They say the probe panel has taken the letter of Saritha Nair as the final word and the report has no corroborating evidence to establish either the alleged bribe given by her to various top political leaders or other allegations.

In her letter, which the commission report has published in a table form, reveals that she paid Rs 2.16 crore as commission to then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Rs 25 lakh to then state Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed, Rs 7 lakh to then state Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar and Rs 25 lakh to then Union Minister of State for Finance Palanimanickam.

Senior legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who was then state Minister of Home when Saritha Nair was arrested in 2013, said the report contains just allegations and has nothing to substantiate them.

"The charge against me in the report is that I helped Chandy escape the rule of law by using the police officials who investigated the case then. If that be the case, then why is that not a single police official who appeared before the solar commission says that. Legal steps will be taken against the report," Radhakrishnan told the media in Kottayam on Friday.

To a question from the media on why the report does not mention the name of actor-turned-legislator K.B. Ganesh Kumar whose name was linked to Saritha Nair, former legislator Benny Behanan said that it's strange that some names that were heard when the scam surfaced and were linked to the woman did not figure in the report, while names that did not figure initially have made their way to the report.

"When we first heard his name (Ganesh Kumar), we did not believe it because it was being said by the lady (Nair). So there is every reason to suspect that there have been external influences (on the judicial panel) and perhaps a conspiracy has gone into the preparation of the report," said Behanan.

Another person whose name figures in the 'letter' of Saritha Nair is of Additional K. Padmakumar. Nair has alleged she was sexually exploited by him.

Speaking to the media, Padmakumar on Friday said it was he who had first given the order for arresting Saritha Nair in 2013 and hence it was "natural she would have a grudge towards me".

"My name is there in the 'letter' which is claimed to have been written by her, but there is no mention of my name by the commission at all," said Padmakumar.

K. Muraleedharan, senior legislator and son of K. Karunakaran whose name does not figure in the report, came down heavily on the commission and alleged that the help of a Left supported lawyer's organisation was taken to prepare the commission report.

"A new commission should now be appointed to probe the manner in which the solar commission went about doing things. This report is a politically motivated one," said Muraleedharan.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Friday said the credibility of the solar commission report is "questionable and everything appears to have based on the 'letter'".

"We are studying the report and will consider taking legal steps," said Chennithala.

The multi-crore solar energy investment fraud that rocked the then Chandy in 2013 was led by Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan.

The findings of the report indict Chandy and his office and the way his three office staff had close links with Saritha Nair.

Chandy on Thursday had criticised the report, saying that the commission appeared to have based everything on "her" letter. He also asked if it was "a solar commission report or a Saritha report".

All eyes are on Chief Minister to see if he will go by the recommendation of the solar commission by installing cameras in his office.

Incidentally, Vijayan soon after assuming office in May 2016 had removed all the CCTV cameras from the office of the Chief Minister, that were installed by Chandy to telecast live and anyone logging on to the then Chief Minister's website could see his office.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 10 2017. 17:18 IST
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