Government Chief Whip P.C. George has admitted that he was in touch with Saritha S. Nair, co-accused in the solar panel scam, ‘several times’ between October 2012 and May 2013.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference here on Wednesday night, Mr. George said that when he met her last she had discussed her ‘marital’ problems with him. She had told him about the troubles caused by her ‘husband’ and that she was like a widow now.
Asked weather it was a case of the ‘husband discussing his marital problems with the Chief Minister and the wife taking up the matter with the Government Chief Whip,’ Mr. George said: ‘‘Yes, I think so.’’
Saritha first met him at Kumarakom on October 23, 2012 when a district conference of the All Kerala Catholic Association was on there. It was a brief encounter and she discussed installation of solar panels in his constituency. He had a successful example of solar panel installation at Moonnilavu in his constituency by ANERT and he wanted to expend the MLA’s local area development fund on the renewable energy sector.
‘‘We were in touch several times after that, but I have not sent any SMS or read any message, because I don’t know how to send them,’’ he said.
It was after this encounter that he warned Tenny Joppan, then a member of the Chief Minister’s personal staff, to be cautious about Saritha. However, Joppan conveyed his warning to Saritha. Later, Saritha called him and asked whether he had talked critically about her to Joppan.
Mr George said there was major corruption in fixing the official installation charge for a 1-kW solar panel at Rs.1.77 lakh as the actual cost would come to only Rs.1.25 lakh. Moreover, there is no uniformity in the expenses charged by the various agencies listed by the government in this regard, he said.
He wanted the State government to form a company for solar power so that the youth would get employment.