Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: In a reprieve for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Kerala High Court on Friday stayed the lodging of an FIR against him and another minister in the solar scam case with strictures against the vigilance judge who immediately offered to quit.
Apparently stung by the strong observations against him by the High Court, the Vigilance Judge S S Vassan, who ordered the filing of FIR against Chandy and Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed, sought permission for voluntary retirement, about 16 months before his tenure ends. He is due to retire in May, 2017.
The High Court while staying the Vigilance Court order today observed that the "Court suffers jurisdiction errors" and also asked the administration section to consider action against the Vigilance Court Judge.
It also observed that the "judge had acted mechanically without knowing the nature and extend of his powers". Shortly after hearing the verdict, a jubilant Chandy said, "truth will always prevail" and reiterated that the charges against him were part of a "political conspiracy".
Since yesterday, the state has been witnessing violent protests by CPI(M) led LDF opposition and its youth organisations for the resignation of Chandy.
Chandy, who cancelled all his programmes today in the wake of state wide protests against him, had confined himself to his official residence Cliff House. Soon after the verdict, Chandy told reporters that he was harbouring no ill will towards anybody and was confident of coming out clean.
Chandy, who had earlier alleged that the charges against him were part of a "conspiracy" against him by a section of bar owners and CPI-M, today said "it was of the lowest order and a shame to Kerala." Hitting out at the opposition for their statements that appearance of CM before the Judicial Commission probing solar scam was a disgrace to state, Chandy said the conspiracy was by a section of the liquor lobby, who were unhappy due to the closing down of several liquor bars.
The allegation by solar scam accused Saritha S Nair that Rs 10 crore had been offered to her to level charges by CPI-M against his government was true, Chandy said. Government would initiate steps to find the source of "conspiracy", Chandy said replying to a question. To a volley of questions, he said, "I will reveal it at an appropriate time".