Ex-Kerala CM draws parallel between solar scam and gold smuggling allegations

Oommen Chandy has also demanded that a CBI probe be conducted into the gold smuggling case.
 Ex-Kerala CM draws parallel between solar scam and gold smuggling allegations
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Former Kerala Chief Minister and Congress leader Oommen Chandy has drawn parallels between allegations against him in the controversial solar scam and the current gold smuggling case in which top officials in the Kerala government associated with CM Pinarayi Vijayan are currently mired. 

In a Facebook post, Chandy said that he does not feel happy about the allegations against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office. However, the former Chief Minister, who received a jarring allegation in the 2013 solar scam, said that he recalled the crucial protest unleashed against him by the Left while they were in opposition.

The multi-crore solar scam case regarding a solar energy investment fraud had jolted the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government in 2013, with the owners of the company alleged to have had links with the then Chief Minister’s Office. One of the main accused in the case alleged that she had been sexually harassed by many top Congress leaders, including Oommen Chandy.

“As news comes out regarding allegations against the Chief Minister’s Office, I am reminded of the 2013 solar controversy. I was the center of attention. The allegation against the (former) CMO was that three people there had spoken with the controversial person. Though all three were removed from their jobs, the Left still continued with their protests. They even picketed the secretariat demanding the CM’s resignation. Despite being in power for four years, the LDF government has not been able to do anything more in the solar case than what then the UDF government did on the matter,” Chandy wrote. '

He added that the government did not incur any loss in the solar case, and nor did the accused company gain any financial favour from the government. 

“I am not happy about the allegations coming against the Chief Minister’s (Pinarayi Vijayan’s) office. But people will realise the exasperation exhibited by the CM on the present allegation against his office, and about the difference in the stance taken by me and my government in the then allegation,” he said. 

Oommen Chandy also demanded that a CBI probe be conducted into the present gold smuggling case, where Pinarayi Vijayan’s Principal Secretary is alleged to have connections with one of the accused. M Sivasankar, the Principal Secretary was removed from his post on Monday. He was also removed from the post of IT Secretary by the state government. 

“The Solar commission report was only based on the handwritten letter of the controversial company (it is in this letter the accused woman alleged sexual harassment). That letter has been removed from the report by the High Court. The UDF government does not see appointing a judicial commission on the matter as a loss, even when it was done on the protest of opposition parties,” Chandy added. 

In the controversial gold smuggling case, 30 kilos of gold was smuggled in a bag from Abu Dhabi Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Consulate in Kerala and was seized from diplomatic baggage in Trivandrum International Airport.  Swapna, a contract employee of the Kerala government’s Information Technology (IT) Department, is one of the accused.

Reacting to the controversies on the issue, Kerala CM Pinarayi on Monday reiterated that the CMO has no relation to the case. The Customs Department has also stated the same.

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