The solar scam now threatens to blight the Kochi Corporation with news of Mayor Tony Chammany receiving an award from Team Solar coming out. Opposition members in the corporation have alleged that the Mayor had hidden the news of the award from the Corporation Council.
Mr. Chammany, along with actor Mammootty, had received an environment award instituted by the company last year. The award was presented by Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohan at a function organised at a star hotel in the city. Mr. Chammany was also presented a cheque of Rs. 25,000 at the function.
With allegations that the money amassed by the company through fraudulent means was used for the award, Mr. Chammany said he would return the award.
According to Mr. Chammany, the award was given for the environmental initiatives of the Corporation, especially the decision to go for energy-efficient lighting system. The project was also included in the first budget of the civic administration. However, the award and the cheque were issued in his name. As it was an individual award, it was not communicated to the council, he said. Awards received and public meetings attended by the Mayor need not be reported to the council.
However, the Mayor’s explanation has failed to satisfy the agitated Opposition, who are planning to take up the issue in a big way.
The parliamentary party meeting of CPI (M) councillors on Monday will finalise the strategy regarding the issue.
K.N. Sunilkumar, parliamentary party secretary of the CPI (M) in the council, alleged that the Mayor had committed a mistake by concealing the details of the award from the council. As the award was for the Kochi corporation, the council should have been informed.
The Mayor kept mum about the award during the last council meeting when questions were raised on the involvement of one of the accused in the scam in a programme organised by the health committee, he said.