After major developments in the solar scam in Kerala which saw the LDF government deciding to register a Vigilance case against former CM Oommen Chandy, a criminal case against Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, and sexual assault cases against prominent leaders in connection to the scam, reactions have been pouring in.
Congress leaders have claimed that the legal action initiated against them in the solar scam is politically motivated and that they will fight it legally.
Former CM and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy
A defiant Oommen Chandy said that he will fight the probe against him in the solar scam legally. The Kerala government's announcement about the Vigilance case against him is based on the report given by the Justice Sivarajan Commission. The report states that the former CM and his office are responsible for the scam.
Oommen Chandy, however, says that he doesn't feel guilty since he hasn't done any wrong.
Speaking to media persons in Thrissur, Oommen Chandy said, â€śIf anyone thinks this can weaken me or other Congress leaders, they are wrong. I am moving ahead with happiness. I am confident that my innocence can be proved anywhere. The action against the Congress leaders in the Solar scam will backfire against the government.â€ť
Chandy said that he is yet to see the Commission report. â€śThe government hasnâ€™t got anything else with which to attack the previous UDF government. Hence they used the Commission report against us. Many people including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had deposed before the Commission in the case. Some witnesses had changed their statements. None of the witnesses who have a neutral stance had deposed against me, only those with vested interests did so,â€ť he claimed.
Chandy further asked why the government hasn't published the Commission report. About the letter written by the prime accused in the case, Saritha S Nair, in which names of several UDF leaders were listed for sexually harassing her, Chandy alleged that the letter was fake.
â€śThe letter was fabricated. I have already moved court against it," he said.
Chandy said that he was unfazed when previously, the CAG report on Vizhzinjam port had found irregularities in the agreement, as he claims he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
â€śI didnâ€™t put the blame on any of the officers. Instead, I took the responsibility. In this case also, I will do the same, as I am sure that I am not guilty,â€ť he asserted.
Former home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan
The Kerala CM has said that a criminal case will be registered against the former home minister. â€śSince the government has initiated the legal action, let the law take its course. Only those who have done wrong need to be afraid,â€ť Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said.
According to the Commission's report, Thiruvanchoor had helped the accused in the case escape from facing legal actions.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh Chennithala has lashed out at the state government for trying to use the case to gain political mileage.
"Pinarayi Vijayan has said this when the Vengara bye-poll is underway. This proves it is nothing but politically motivated," he alleged.
Congress leader Rajmohan Unnithan
Rajmohan Unnithan also said that the fact that the Kerala CM had announced the action against Congress leaders on the day of the Vengara bye-election proved the motive behind the decision.
What is the solar scam?
In October 2013, Saritha S Nair and her live in partner Biju Radhakrishnan were arrested over the swindling of lakhs of rupees from several persons. The two of them, business partners at Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Private Limited, a Kochi based firm, had taken the money from several people after promising to set up solar panels for them.
In December 2016, the Judicial Magistrate Court in Perumbavoor sentenced the duo to three years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each.
Saritha S Nair, the key accused in the case, has been linked to many influential names in the state, for allegedly receiving money and providing sexual favours. The scam had rocked the UDF government led by Oommen Chandy and is considered to be one of the major reasons for the UDF debacle in 2016 Assembly elections.