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Updated: July 21, 2013 03:47 IST

Solar panel scam: Saritha makes statement in court

Staff Reporter
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A file photo of Saritha S. Nair, prime accused in the solar panel scam, being taken to a court in Pathanamthitta. Photo: PTI
A file photo of Saritha S. Nair, prime accused in the solar panel scam, being taken to a court in Pathanamthitta. Photo: PTI

Solar scam accused Saritha S. Nair made a confidential statement before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court at Ravipuram here on Saturday.

Saritha expressed her desire to speak to the court in private when she was produced there along with her partner Biju Radhakrishnan as their remand period came to an end on Saturday. The court granted Saritha permission and later recorded her statement for about half an hour in the presence of her lawyer and a government prosecutor. With heavy media presence outside the courtroom, the court warned those present against leaking Saritha’s private statement. The court also asked Saritha’s advocate to submit the statements in writing as well. Saritha’s lawyer Fenny Balakrishnan said that she had made important revelations that would alter the course of the case. Earlier, he had said that Saritha would reveal the identities of persons whose names had not cropped up in the investigation yet.

Saritha and Biju also told the court that they feared for their lives and were under threat. The court directed the police to provide sufficient protection to the two accused. The two were remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody by the court.

Mayor’s award

Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany was among those who received an award from Team Solar at a function in Kochi in June 2011. The ‘Virgin Earth Golden Feather Environment Award’ instituted by Team Solar carried a prize money of Rs.25,000. Mr. Chammany, actor Mammootty and prominent environmentalists were among the six people awarded at a function held at a hotel in Kochi on the day. Mr. Chammany said Saritha had approached him under the name Lekshmi Nair and told him about their award. “I was told that the award, as part of their World Environment Day celebration, was for the council’s decision to adopt energy efficient lighting practices. As many other eminent persons were also receiving the award, I did not see anything wrong in accepting it. It is only now that I found out about her name and the scam,” he said.

The Mayor said that he would now return the award money. Mr. Chammany said Saritha had contacted his office several times under the false name to discuss their solar lighting products. “But she has not received any help or support from me,” he said. The Mayor said he had met Biju Radhakrishnan at the award function and that he was then introduced to him as Dr. R.B. Nair.

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