The arrest of the person who forged the letterhead of Chief Minister for Biju Radhakrishnan will turbocharge the probe by Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the solar panel scam.
The arrest from Kochi on Monday came as the SIT has been accused of soft pedalling on investigation. The team consists of teams under various DySPs and helmed by A. Hemachandran, Additional Director General of Police, South Zone.
It has been alleged that no action was initiated against actor Shalu Menon, who has been accused of being part of the cheating allegedly orchestrated by Biju, and also against Tenny Joppen, personal staff of the Chief Minister, and Salim Raj, Chief Minister’s gunman.
Even though the actor was grilled twice by the probe team, it was alleged that police didn’t probe her wealth. It was pointed out that the actor was not active in film and television circles and was involved only with her dance school at Changanassery at present. Her nomination as the member of the Regional Censor Board also came under heavy fire.
But sources said the delay in action against the actor should be treated as a good sign, as “the SIT did not jump into conclusion and is progressing with the investigation meticulously”. It is pointed out that Ms. Menon has been suspected to be involved in only one case, where Biju cheated a person of Rs. 70 lakh.
Even in this case, the actor’s role needs to be established through documentary evidence before moving in for her arrest. At the same time, Ms. Menon pre-empted the move against her by claiming that she herself was a victim of Biju’s deceit.
A senior official in the State Police said that the delay in action against accused in the scam was mostly because economic offences, unlike bodily offences, required solid documentary evidence before moving into for steps like arrests. The SIT was moving in a systematic manner to lay charges in all the cases being probed in different parts of the State, he said.
The scam also brought to the fore the delay in action against A. Feroze, former director of the Public Relations Department. It is learnt that the Thiruvananthapuram City Police had mentioned the role played by Firoze as middleman between deals struck by Biju and Sarita in its First Information Report filed following the couple’s arrest in 2009.
On the basis of this report, the then State Police Chief filed a report to the State government in 2012, but still no action was taken against him till the couple was arrested after a series of cases in 2013. The official was suspended and vigilance probe was initiated against him only this year, it is alleged.