Says soft approach of Chief Minister gives credence to charge of involvement

Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the government of trying to shield Tenny Joppan and Salimraj, the two members of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s personal staff who allegedly maintained contact with solar panel scam accused Saritha Nair, by not initiating criminal proceedings against them as a probe into their role would bring “to light the involvement of Mr. Chandy in the scam”.

Inaugurating an Assembly march organised by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, Mr. Vijayan said the enormity of the crime committed by the members of the Chief Minister’s staff warranted disciplinary action and criminal proceedings against them, but they were let off by merely shifting them from the Chief Minister’s office to the Secretariat.

The soft approach of the Chief Minister on the issue gave credence to the allegation of his involvement in the scam, he said adding that Mr. Chandy was scared to face a probe into he solar panel scam. Mr. Vijayan said a lot of information pointing fingers at the Chief Minister and the alleged links between his close aides and the accused in the case had emerged. The Chief Minister had initially denied any personal knowledge about Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, the two accused in the scam, but he had to retract his statements after fresh revelations.

Taking into account the nature of crime and the people linked to the accused, a police inquiry would not suffice, he said adding that the agitation by the Opposition would continue till Mr. Chandy resigned from the post and order a judicial probe. If the government failed to heed their demands, they would intensify the agitation.

Communist Party of India (CPI) State unit secretary Pannian Ravindran said the Chief Minister was trying to make the two personal staff members scapegoats and attempting to divert attention by raising allegations that LDF government showed interest in protecting the scam-accused. Others who addressed the gathering included convener of LDF Vaikom Viswan; State president of Congress (S) Kadannapally Ramachandran; and leader of the Kerala Congress (anti-merger) P.C Thomas.

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