Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who came under heavy attack from the then opposition led by V S Achuthanandan in the solar scam, on Monday won a moral victory when a local court ordered the latter to pay Rs 10.10 lakh in the defamation case filed by the former in 2014. The solar scam rocked the Chandy government when in 2013 a woman Saritha Nair and her then live-in partner cheated people by offering solar panels and not supplying them after collecting the money.
The scam took a heavy toll on Chandy's government, when it surfaced that three of his staff members had personal contacts with Nair. With the Opposition breathing down his neck, Chandy dismissed the three of them. The present case pertains to an interview that Achuthanandan gave to the media where he alleged that Chandy had gone to the extent of starting a new company to siphon off the scam money.
Chandy in 2014, filed the defamation case and testified before the court and on Monday the Thiruvananthapuram Sub Court said the petitioner failed to produce any evidence to substantiate his allegation and ordered him to pay a sum of Rs 10.10 lakh. Even though Chandy had originally filed for Rs one crore, he later reduced it to meet the court expenses.
The counsel for Achuthanandan said he will file an appeal in the Thiruvananthapuram district court.
Achuthanandan is now 98 years old. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been remaining indoors and is presently convalescing at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram after turning COVID positive last week.
The then Left led by Achuthanandan had launched a campaign against Chandy and when he was all likely to return to office in the 2016 assembly polls, the sustained campaign against Chandy saw the Left winning a huge victory in the polls. However, the CPI(M) sidelined Achuthanandan and named Pinarayi Vijayan as the Chief Minister.
After the 2016 defeat of the Congress-led UDF which he led, Chandy refused to accept any post and remained a legislator only. In the 2021 polls, he won and now his health also has deteriorated and with the pandemic striking hard, he remains confined to his home and party offices.
Chandy's stock statement ever since the scam surfaced has been that he has done no wrong and his conscience is clear and he has nothing to fear.