The State Cabinet on Friday gave its green signal for a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the High Court into the solar panel scam that has rocked the State for the past several months.
However, there was no clarity on terms of reference for the judicial probe. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy made it clear in his post-Cabinet press briefing in no mean terms that the question of bringing his office within the purview of the judicial probe will be considered only if the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) convincingly establishes its case for this.
Announcing the Cabinet decision on the judicial probe by a sitting judge at a post Cabinet news briefing, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy maintained that the State government was ever ready to hold discussions with the Opposition on the terms of reference of the judicial probe. “It is not a closed chapter. The government will finalise the terms of reference after taking into account the Opposition’s views. The views can either be given in writing or could be discussed. The government has nothing to hide,” he said.
Explaining the reasons for rejecting the Opposition demand on the terms of reference, Mr. Chandy said several wild allegations were made on the solar scam and the government gave its clarification to each one of them, but none of these had been questioned, he said.
He was not inclined to accede to the LDF demand on the basis of his own experience during his tenure as Forest Minister in the 1982-87 Karunakaran Ministry. The CPI(M) had accused him of irregularities in the Kakki timber case. A judicial commission headed by a sitting judge of the High Court (Justice George Vadakkel) was appointed. But the Opposition raised a hue and cry over a non-existent file that was alleged to have been missing and refused to cooperate with the judicial probe. When the commission submitted its report, there was no mention about him. Later, when the LDF come to power in 1987, he had requested the then Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar to locate the “missing file, but he did not show the courtesy of even replying to his letter, Mr. Chandy said and added that the commission incurred an expenditure of Rs.18 lakh, but did not serve any purpose.
He denied that the government interlocutors had held discussions with the CPI(M) or LDF leadership during the course of its Secretariat blockade. He did not have any comment on the prevaricating statements of CPI(M) leaders, he said. With regard to the LDF boycott of his function, Mr. Chandy said he would continue to attend functions.