The Kerala High Court, directing A. Firoz, suspended Director of Information and Public Relations Department, to surrender in a cheating case in connection with the solar scam, criticised the State government on Thursday for its failure to take action against him.
Dismissing an anticipatory bail petition filed by Firoz, Justice S.S. Satheesachandran observed that the investigation officer had gathered incriminating material to suspect the complicity of the petitioner in the case, in which Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S. Nair were alleged to have defrauded several persons and collected crores of rupees.
“Still, no meaningful and effective steps were taken to proceed against the petitioner after he was implicated as a co-accused with other accused in the case,” the judge said.
The court pointed out that though the government had been informed of Firoz’s complicity by way of a report in 2010, no action was taken on the report. But for the publicity of the solar scam cases involving Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, the crime registered against Firoz would not have received serious attention, though the petitioner holding a responsible post in the government had been added as an accused in a crime registered as early as 2010.
The material disclosed not only the complicity of the petitioner with Biju Rahdakrishnan and Saritha Nair in the case but also in some other transactions, which, normally, could not have been carried out by any person in government service.
The court said the submission of the petitioner that he too had been cheated by the accused could not be taken at its face value at this moment. Firoz had lodged his complaint after a report was filed before the government alleging his involvement in the crime.
The court asked Firoz to surrender before the investigation officer on Saturday. He should be produced before the magistrate court after his arrest and interrogation.
The charge against the petitioner was that he had introduced Biju Radhakrishnan as a senior strategic adviser of the Asian Development Bank and Saritha Nair as a chartered accountant to Salim M. Kabir, managing director of a building firm. The petitioner promised Mr. Kabir to arrange a loan. The police alleged that the petitioner had given “his oral and physical support” to other accused for obtaining illegal gain.
However, the petitioner had not been put in the clutches of the law till now. He had demanded commission, and the accused had given Rs. 5 lakh and a car to him and gifted two gold rings to his wife, the prosecution charged.