Solar scam: Kerala HC refuses to spare sitting judge

Kerala High court informed government that it cannot spare sitting judge to probe solar scam that brought CM Oommen Chandy`s office under cloud and rocked the UDF government for the past two months.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High court has informed the state government that it cannot spare a sitting judge to conduct probe into the solar scam that brought Chief Minister Oommen Chandy`s office under a cloud and rocked the UDF government for the past two months.
The decision in this regard taken by a five-member administrative committee of the court, chaired by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, was today conveyed to the State Chief Secretary E K Bharath Bhushan, CM`s office sources said.

Under persistent demand from LDF opposition, the cabinet had earlier this month decided to hold a judicial probe into the scam and sought the services of a sitting judge.

Meanwhile, CPI-M led LDF, which insisted on a probe by a sitting judge right from the start, said if government makes sincere efforts, it is still possible to get the services of a sitting judge.

The decision to hold a judicial probe was ordered by the Government at the height of the opposition campaign which saw thousands of LDF workers laying siege to the secretariat here demanding Chandy`s resignation. The opposition called of the `siege` after the probe was announced.

However, even after that both sides have been engaged in a heated debate over the issue of inclusion of CM`s office in the ambit of the probe.

"If the government made a renewed plea to the High Court it is still possible to get the services of a sitting judge. But the government`s sincerity in the matter is suspect," CPI(M) politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said.

State Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radkhakrishnan said the Government was firm on conducting a judicial probe but the next step would be decided by the cabinet.

The scam related to cheating people of huge sums by the arrested accused Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair by offering solar energy solutions. A special investigation team probing the case has completed its probe.

The case assumed a serious political dimension with the arrest of Tenny Joppan, a Personal Assistant in the Chief Minister`s office, for his alleged links with the accused.

As a spin-off, former Director of Public Relations Department A Firoz and tele-actress and danseuse Shalu Menon were also arrested in a related case. Shalu and Joppan were released on bail earlier this week.

LDF has been alleging that such a huge scam would not have taken place without the collusion of the Chief Minister.


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