Judges slam government over investigation

Slamming the State government for the manner in which the investigation into the “solar scam” is progressing, the Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, orally asked if a probe was not required to find out if the scam had taken place with the knowledge of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the investigation, Justice V.K. Mohanan pointed out that whether the Chief Minister knew or not about the scam could be ascertained only by an investigation. The court made the observations when the State prosecutor submitted that the Chief Minister was not involved in the case.

The court was considering a petition filed by a Bangalore-based businessman, M.K. Kuruvila, seeking a Crime Branch investigation into the scam, of which he too was a victim.

Almost simultaneously, Justice S.S. Satheeschandran expressed his displeasure with the lack of coordination in the investigation. The judge wanted to know why Saritha S. Nair, the second main accused in the case, was not allowed to make a statement in writing even after the court had permitted her to do so. Saritha Nair had on Monday informed the Magistrate Court for Economic Offences that she wanted to give a written version of her statement to the Magistrate. Was the special investigation team (SIT) aware of this fact and what were the reasons for the non-disclosure of this to the Kothamangalam Magistrate Court, the judge asked.

The judge made the oral observations when the bail petition of the TV actor Shalu Menon, an accused in the case, was taken up for hearing. The judge orally observed that the police investigation seemed to be progressing without any coordination. The local police continued to investigate many of the related complaints even after the constitution of a SIT. The court said it would not hesitate to order for the presence of the SIT chief, A. Hemachandran, Additional Director General of Police, if the police continued with the investigation without any coordination.

The court asked if the police had made any effort to find out where the money misappropriated in various cheating cases had been stashed away. Although the police had registered many complaints, there was no attempt to trace the money. The court asked where the money in the solar panel cheating cases had gone.

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