Allegation serious since he was attached to the Chief Minister’s office, says judge

The Kerala High Court on Monday turned down the bail plea of Tenny Joppan, former personal assistant of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and an accused in a cheating case relating to the solar scam.

Dismissing the bail petition, Justice S.S. Satheesachandran observed that the offence alleged against him was serious since the petitioner was a personal assistant attached to the office of Chief Minister. He had also assisted other two accused, Saritha S. Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, who committed “mass scale of cheating across the State.”

The court observed that the apprehension expressed by the State government that as the petitioner was would tamper with the evidence of the crime and hamper investigation if released on bail could not be brushed aside.

The court observed that there was sufficient room to doubt the petitioner’s complicity in the offence. The argument by the petitioner that the complaint did not cite specific allegation against him need not be attached any significance.

Joppan contended that he was not a party in the cheating case and as such he was not liable to be proceeded against for the offence. He argued that the police did not seek his custody even after his arrest.

Advocate General K.P. Dandapani, opposing the bail petition, argued that material collected during the investigation pointed to the direct involvement of the petitioner with the other two accused. The position held by Joppan as an employee in the office of the Chief Minister and the influence he had over various authorities should be taken into account.

The call details of the petitioner with Saritha and Biju and transactions carried out in his bank account were yet to be probed. Joppan was arrested on charges of cheating Sreedharan Nair, an entrepreneur, on the basis of his complaint lodged with the Konni police station. Mr. Nair had alleged that Joppan, along with Sarita and Biju, had defrauded him of Rs.40 lakh, after promising help to set up a solar power plant at his company in Palakkad.

The accused persons had offered land at Kinfra Park in Palakkad to install a solar energy plant with assistance from the government. He was taken to the office of the Chief Minister where he held talks with the Chief Minister and other officers. The accused persons had made him believe that all assistance for the plant would be provided by the government.

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