Nearly 10 years after she was booked in a windmill scam, a judicial magistrate court in Coimbatore sentenced Kerala's solar scam accused Saritha S Nair in two cheating cases. The court awarded three years imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on her Thursday. The third accused and the manager of the Coimbatore firm, Ravi, too, has been sentenced to imprisonment and fined the same amount. They would be reportedly serving another nine months if they failed to pay the fine.
The sixth judicial magistrate KR Kannan, however, reserved the sentence for the second accused - Sarithaâ€™s former husband and partner Biju Radhakrishnan. The sentence was pronounced based on the complaint filed by a Coimbatore-based industrialist named Thyagarajan, who stated that Saritha and Biju took Rs 26 lakh from him with the promise to install windmills.
According to police, in 2008, Saritha, Biju and Ravi started a consultancy firm named International Consultancy and Management Services, Power and Connection, in Vadavalli in Coimbatore, which helps people invest in windmills.
In 2008, the three had collected a sum of Rs 26 lakh from Thyagarajan, managing director of Rajnarayan textiles at Vadavalli. The same year, they swindled Rs 4 and Rs 7 lakh from two others in Salem in Tamil Nadu. In 2009, the firm collected about Rs 6 lakh from a Nilgiris-based trust.
In 2008 and 2009, the District Crime Branch (DCB) of Coimbatore Rural Police had booked the three. Following the four complaints, the police registered two cases, and chargesheets were filed in 2010 and 2011 under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
The second case was registered based on the complaint of Jyotsna N Kilachand, managing trustee of Shree Abubabji Charitable Mission Trust at Udhagamandalam in Nilgiris district. The other two persons who filed a complaint against the three turned witnesses in the case.
Jyotsna claimed to have given Rs 5.57 lakh for installing a windmill on the premises of the trust, which also allegedly spent Rs 11 lakh for laying cables for the windmill electricity connection. However, when the consultancy firm failed to install the windmill, Saritha, Biju and Ravi were arrested.
Though the trio was arrested in both the cases, they managed to get bail in 2011. They, however, failed to appear in the court when the trial commenced. It was after their arrest by the Kerala police that they were produced in the Coimbatore court in 2013.
Saritha is one of the main accused in the infamous solar scam in Kerala and was convicted in two cases related to it. She was one of the directors of the company named Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions, which cheated many investors by promising to install solar panels.
The solar scam broke out in 2013 during the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government. The scam had jolted the government as she made serious sexual harassment allegations against many Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
In March, Saritha had given nominations to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad and Ernakulam constituencies as an independent candidate. However, the Returning Officer rejected her nominations on the ground that she has been convicted in criminal cases.