Saritha disclosures: Insult to Congress injury
The “Saritha bomb” continues to batter the Congress and the party-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Government. So damaging are the latest revelations that the Congress and its UDF partners do not know where to run for cover.
The disclosures have effectively demolished Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s oft-repeated claims that he had nothing to do with Saritha nor has his government done anything to help her promote her solar business interests.
A few days back, Saritha submitted to the Justice Sivarajan Commission probing the solar scam five CDs containing what she claimed were phone conversations between her and the Chief Minister’s close confidants, Thampanoor Ravi and Benni Behnan, MLA. She claimed the CM aides tried to influence her through these conversations to give statements favouring the Chief Minister. According to Saritha, 80 per cent of these recordings effectively proved that the CM’s claim of not having anything to do with here are nothing but a tissue of lies.
In her earlier deposition, Saritha had alleged that Chandy and his aides had been paid bribes and that his aides had tried to force her into making statements not contradicting the CM’s depositions before the Sivarajan Commission.
She also made the startling disclosure that the rape case against Congress MLA AP Abdullakutty had been filed at the prompting of Thampanoor Ravi with the express purpose of diverting attention from the solar scam! Expectedly, the Saritha shocks have added a new dimension to the ongoing group war in the Congress.
For instance, her disclosures against the A group leaders, Ravi and Behnan had gladdened the leaders belonging to the I group led by Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala. The I group leaders are, in private, gloating over the discomfitures caused to the A group led by the Chief Minister by these disclosures.
For instance, Saritha’s statement that she filed the rape case against Abdullakutty, a prominent I group leader, at the behest of Thampanoor Ravi has given the group another stick to beat the A group with. It proves false Oommen Chandy’s complaint to the Congress High Command that the I group leaders were acting against him.
However, the I group’s joy has been proved short-lived with Working president of the Bar Owners Association, Biju Ramesh alleging that he had given a bribe of Rs 2 crore to Ramesh Chennithala and Rs 25 lakh to Health Minister V S Shivakumar, an I group leader. The money, Biju alleged, was handed over to Chennithala himself sometime in 2012-13 as per the advice of the Chief Minister! However, no receipt was given for the money handed over as funds for the Congress, Biju claimed.
The Biju bomb has come as music to the ears of the beleaguered A group leaders. It is now their turn to twist the knife in the wounds of the rival I group leaders.
An early upshot of these disclosures will be a further escalation in the sniping between the A group and the I group leaders, despite the High Command’s instructions not to wash dirty linen in public.
Meanwhile, Saritha’s statement that she would soon hand over to the Commission proof of sexual harassment by Congress leaders is keeping the latter on tenterhooks. The next few days could witness the disclosures of more damaging revelations against Congress leaders.