The Vigilance Court here on Thursday directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) under the Kerala police to immediately file a First Information Report (FIR) against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed in the solar scam. The court also directed the VACB to submit its probe report by April 14.
On Wednesday, >the prime accused, Saritha S. Nair, alleged that she had paid bribes worth Rs.1.90 crore and Rs. 40 lakh to Mr. Chandy and Mr. Mohammed respectively to help her company set up mega solar power projects.
On a petition by social activist P.D. Joseph, Judge S.S. Vasan ordered that the Chief Minister and the Electricity Minister be investigated, after rejecting the argument of Vigilance Legal Adviser V.K. Shailajan that the investigating agency would be able to file the FIR only after conducting a quick verification of the fresh charges made by Saritha.
Chandy blames lobby
Mr. Chandy said in Kozhikode that a section of the liquor lobby was behind the testimony of Saritha before the judicial commission on Wednesday. He charged the lobby with trying to sabotage the decision to close down bar hotels in the State.
The Vigilance Court, which directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) under the Kerala police to immediately file a First Information Report (FIR) against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed in the solar scam, on Thursday observed that extraordinary circumstances necessitated extraordinary measures.
On a petition filed by social activist P.D. Joseph, Judge S.S. Vasan ordered that the Chief Minister and the Electricity Minister be investigated.
The judge also recalled an old Malayalam saying Uppu thinnavan vellam kudikkum (he who eats salt will ultimately drink water) and elaborated on the dictum of equal justice for all, and that the law considered each and every one equal.
Referring to the merit of the allegations against the Chief Minister, the judge said it was not the duty of the court to look into the merit of each case coming up for its consideration. Only the investigating officials could confirm the merit or otherwise of allegations after conducting a proper verification.
When the VACB legal adviser said the case would not come within the purview of the Vigilance Court in Thrissur as the alleged incident may have happened in Thiruvananthapuram, the judge approved the counter-argument of the petitioner that the impact of the scam extended even up to Kochi, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Thrissur court.
Chandy should go: BJP
The BJP on Thursday demanded the immediate resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the wake of a vigilance court’s order that an FIR be regis-tered against him in the solar scam in the State.
“Vigilance court has asked that an FIR be filed. It cannot be graver than this. BJP demands that the Chief Minister resign immediately. The CM has no locus standi to be in his chair,” Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the media. “On this, the Congress high command will have to speak out. The Kerala government is reeling under one corruption charge or other.”
(With inputs from National Bureau)