The Kerala Congress(M), breaking its studied silence on the raging controversy over a solar panel racket, has come out with a critical view of the approach of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to his personal staff and identified one of the members of the personal staff, ‘RK,’ so far an unknown entity in the controversy, as one of the four who had collaborated with the accused Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S. Nair.
In the editorial, titled ‘Limit to Credibility’ (Viswasathinum Athirundu), the party mouthpiece, Prathichaya, says there are people who support the view that the life of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is an open book. However, the recent developments have brought a credibility deficit to their confidence.
The controversies and disclosures made in the solar controversy and the telephone calls made by those close to the Chief Minister to the accused in the fraud have put him in a spot. ‘‘This has put a shadow over the image of Oommen Chandy before the Opposition and the public,’’ the editorial says.
The success of an administrator is the credibility (among the people), it says making it clear that the Chief Minister has enough of it. ‘‘However, that those in his office, Tenny Joppan, Jikku Jacob, Salim Raj, and RK, were in constant touch with Saritha S. Nair, cannot be justified,’’ the editorial says. In addition, the Chief Minister’s assistant in New Delhi, Thomas Kuruvilla, was also in touch with Saritha, it says.
This has given credence to suspicion in the minds of the people. ‘‘The Chief Minister is left with carrying the baggage of sin committed by those in his personal staff and those who were known to be closest to him,’’ it goes on to say.
This has come as a ‘golden stick’ in the hands of the Opposition to beat the ruling front. However, during the Left Democratic Front rule, more than 14 cases had been registered against the two accused in the solar fraud, but nothing much was done. The editorial also calls for the investigation to expand its purview and find where the money collected by the fraudsters has gone. Those who have lost money should be compensated with the wealth fraudulently augmented by the accused, it says.
Extending support to the Chief Minister, the editorial points out that he has no reason to stand down as it is not practical if one were to resign from a post on the basis of mere allegations. The party mouthpiece also calls for caution in the selection and handling of the personal staff, not only in the office of the Chief Minister, but of other Ministers as well.