Solar probe report indicts Chandy, am innocent, he says
Thiruvananthapuram: Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday said he does not rule out foul play in preparation of the solar judicial probe report in which he has been indicted. The 1,000 page report was tabled at a special session of the state assembly.
Chandy added that the final victory would be his when the case is finally disposed of.
The report by Justice G. Sivarajan (retd) includes four volumes in English and one in Malayalam.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tabled the report in the Kerala Assembly on Thursday morning and copies of it were given to all the legislators and also to the media.
The allegations regarding the multi-crore solar energy investment fraud that rocked the then Chandy government in 2013 were 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.
In his hour-long press conference at the state party headquarters here, Chandy said that certain things that have surfaced after the report was submitted last month arouse suspicion.
"I feel there has been lack of transparency on the part of the Left government after the report was submitted. We know the general norm in any commission once it submits its report is that it has to be signed on all the pages. But in this case, it has come to light that one volume was signed by the commission later after the report was submitted," said Chandy.
The report has recommended for action against Chandy for involving in corruption and also sexually exploiting Saritha Nair.
The Congress leader said the commission also in its report has included the same letter of Saritha Nair in two volumes and "one suspects if this was a Solar commission or a Saritha commission".
It is in this letter that Saritha Nair accuses Chandy and several of his party leaders of sexually exploiting her.
"The letter that was included is not the 21-page letter which she had written in jail as was seen by the then Jails Director General of police Alexander Jacob. Even Saritha herself had testified before the commission that my name does not figure in the letter. But things have changed and now we see a 25-page letter that has been put in the commission report. How did this happen?" asked Chandy.
Chandy said that even if one per cent of the allegations that have surfaced in the report is true, he will quit public life.
Chandy pointed out that never before has any commission report been kept so "secretive" like this one.
"The norm is that commissions submit their report to the government (Chief Minister) and those who head the commissions first speak about the contents. But here, the commission did not say anything nor did Vijayan. It was kept away from even crucial departments like Home and Law. This very same judge when I was the Chief Minister came to submit a report and I myself asked him to reveal the highlights," added Chandy.
He pointed out that commissions function on a terms of reference.
"We had appointed the commission and it had wide terms of reference, but then the commission himself drew out his own terms of reference and went to the extent of looking into things which were not there in the the two terms of reference. This issue was challenged in the court, when we were in office, but we did not take it up because then it would look as if we are objecting to the commission, which we set up," added Chandy.
Chandy said that on October 11 when Vijayan held a press conference he listed out that cases will be registered on the corruption and sexual charges based on the commission findings, "but today he said in the assembly that a new probe will be launched and no case would be registered now".
"So again they have gone back," pointed out Chandy.
Vijayan earlier in the day also gave permission for live telecast of the day's proceedings in the assembly.
Among the others who have been found guilty by the commission include Chandy's former cabinet colleagues Aryadan Mohammed, Adoor Prakash, A.P. Anil Kumar and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
The others named in the case are legislator Hibi Eden, former MLAs Benny Behanan and Thampanoor Ravi, Lok Sabha members Jose K. Mani and K.C. Venugopal, former Union Minister Palanimanickam and party office bearers.
Soon after Vijayan finished his speech, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said: "This report is based on what Saritha Nair has said and you (Vijayan) are using this to settle political scores against a tall leader like Chandy, whose track record is impeccable and one who has carried himself in a dignified manner as a legislator for almost 50 years."
After the 50-minute session, the opposition leaders got together at the official residence of Chennithala to tackle the fresh developments.
According to sources in the know of things, the Congress opposition is all set to challenge the report in the court.
This is the first time in the history of the assembly that a special session was called to table a Judicial Commission probe report.