Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi | In a reprieve for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Kerala High Court today 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.
Claiming that the recent developments in the scam had not affected the UDF government’s image, Chandy said,the strength of UDF is the unity of the lead partner Congress and its allies.
Amidst allegations that he had met Saritha on certain occasions, Chandy said he was in public life for the past 50 years. Several issues come before me daily which I look into. My way of functioning is that if a mistake or lapse is pointed out, I immediately rectify it, he said.
Asked whether he had committed any mistake on the solar issue, Chandy reiterated that he had not done anything wrong. I came to know about the fraud only after case came up. I move with people not after going through their past.
My style is that when 100 matters comes….I take decisions on all matters. In that, some time 10 decisions may go wrong. But I am able to take decision on 90 correct issues. If I go through in detail in all the 100 matters, I will be able to take decision only on 10 issues, he said.
Asked whether LDF would use the scam as a weapon to attack UDF in the state assembly polls due few months away, a confident looking Chandy said, allegations come and at the same time, vanishes with high speed. What was the situation in Kerala yesterday? What is the situation now?. People of the state will understand everything, he said.
On Congress high command backing him, Chandy said the it supported him on the basis of inputs the leaders have received. They know Kerala politics, he said.
Asked if UDF would come back to power, Chandy asserted that there was no doubt it. When this government came to power with wafer thin majority, everybody thought that it will not last for more than few months. But it has remained in power despite a thin majority.
Meanwhile, Saritha, who deposed before the Solar Commission for the third consecutive day today, trained her guns once again against the CM, targeting his son Chandy Oommen.
She alleged that she was told by the CM to create a company– Kerala Renewable Energy Cooperative Society Ltd- involving Chandy Oommen and some other family members and was told to incorporate details about renewable energy resources in its bylaw.
According to her, Chandy Oommen was a partner of an American firm called Starflames Inc and it was suggested that the US-based company could be used for importing solar panel required for the institution to be formed in Kerala.
Saritha also rejected allegations that she had illicit relations with Chandy Oommen but admitted that she had business relations with him. There are allegations about illicit relations with Chandy Oommen. Unfortunately, I am not the heroine of such stories. it was another accused in the solar case, she said not naming the other woman.
She also claimed that she has heard that then Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan was in possession of video clippings which shows Chandy Oommen and her co-accused in the solar case visiting Dubai together.
I doubt Radhakrishnan had leaked information about the video clippings to media fearing a cabinet reshuffle, she said. Reacting to the allegations against him, Radhakrishnan said they were baseless and that he would face them legally.
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