Disks sent to forensic science lab for examination

Advocate General K.P. Dandapani, representing the State government, informed the Kerala High Court on Wednesday that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had been questioned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the solar scam cases.

The Advocate General (AG) made the submission before Justice Harul-Ul-Rashid when a petition seeking a directive to seize the computer hard disks and servers of CCTV cameras installed at the Secretariat and the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) came up for hearing.

The Advocate General submitted that the hard disks of CCTV cameras installed at the CMO included the footage of July 7, 2012, when Sreedharan Nair, a complainant in a solar case, along with Saritha S Nair, an accused in the cases, allegedly met the Chief Minister at his office. He said the disks had been sent to a forensic science laboratory for examination.

At the outset, the Advocate General tried to keep under wraps the name of the Chief Minster, submitting that a person responsible for the meeting had been questioned. However, when the court persistently asked him to specify whom he was referring to, the Advocate General disclosed that it was Chief Minister who had been questioned in connection with Mr. Nair’s complaint.

The court then asked the Advocate General why the Chief Minister had been questioned when there was no allegation against him in Mr. Nair’s complaint.

Senior counsel for the petitioner Ranjith Thampan said such an observation was unwarranted as the investigation in the case was on. A statement given by Mr. Nair under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had referred to his visit to the CMO. The CCTV footage ought to be seized and examined to verify whether a meeting had really taken place.

Asked why Mr. Nair met the Chief Minster after clinching a deal for the solar project, counsel for Mr. Nair submitted that the Chief Minister had promised all support for the project and the deal was inked on his assurance.

Though the Advocate General handed over the case diary to the court saying the court could have a look at the progress of the investigation, the court returned it.

The Advocate General pointed out that the petitioner had no locus standi to file a petition for a directive to seize the CCTV footage and data.