LDF targets Chandy over solar scam



Thiruvananthapuram: Upping the ante against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the solar panel scam, CPI-M in Kerala on Sunday signalled that the party and its LDF allies would step up protests to press for the resignation of the Chief Minister and demand a judicial probe into the issue.

Congress as well as its major ally IUML rallied behind the Chief Minister dubbing the move to implicate him in the case on 'baseless charges' as politically motivated and ruling UDF as a whole would jointly stave off the opposition attempts.

The scam pertains to extensive fraudulent deals indulged in by estranged couple Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan by luring clients for solar panel installation schemes.

The issue assumed a political dimension after it was revealed that two personal staff members in the Chief Minister's Office had made frequent calls to Saritha Nair, who is now in judicial remand in connection with the case.

In a sharp reaction to the developments in the last two days, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan said Chandy could not get away with a police inquiry as it involved his office and the names of several leaders including a union minister had come up in 'revelations' made by Biju Radhakrishnan.

CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the continuance of Chandy had become untenable as 'never before Kerala has heard a scam of such magnitude in which the Chief Minister's link is suspected.'

Coming out in full support of Chandy, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said the Opposition was trying to create a 'smokescreen' to secure political mileage and the move would be challenged politically.

IUML termed the allegation against the chief minister totally baseless and politically motivated. IUML state unit Secretary K P A Majeed said in Mallapuram that the entire UDF rallied behind Chandy and would face the LDF designs.

The LDF demand for a judicial probe "is quite unwarranted," he added.

PTI