Kerala

CBI to probe Oommen Chandy in rape charge

A file photo of a protest by Left parties seeking action in the solar scam case.  

The State government on Sunday appeared to have dropped a political bombshell.

It promulgated an extraordinary notification authorising the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe at least five top Congress leaders, including lead United Democratic Front (UDF) campaigner and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, on the charge of rape.

Additional Chief Secretary, Home, T.K. Jose issued the order based on a complaint filed by the woman arraigned as accused in the sensational solar investment fraud case that had bedevilled the previous Oommen Chandy government.

The “victim” alleged the politicians had sought and received sexual favours from her, promising State support for her business venture.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K.C. Venugopal; former Ministers Adoor Prakash and A.P. Anil Kumar; Hiby Eden, MP; Abdullah Kutty, currently a top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary; are the other respondents in the case.

The State police had in 2018 registered six cases against the politicians. However, the investigation had come to a dead-end. The crime had spanned Kerala, New Delhi, and other States. The cases have their provenance in a damning observation by the judicial commission appointed by Mr. Chandy to probe the solar scam.

The commission recommended that the police probe those persons named by the woman as her sexual exploiters. It concluded that demanding and accepting sexual favours for official patronage tantamount to illegal gratification under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Pinarayi government, which came to power in 2016, accepted the recommendation and ordered a Crime Branch investigation.

Congress cries foul

Meanwhile, the Congress has cried foul. The government had attempted to breath new life into a set of discredited allegations to tarnish the Congress leadership. The action smacked of political vendetta.

Mr. Chandy said the government had sat on the charges for five years. Multiple officers had found no merit in the accusations. The High Court had expunged the commission’s findings against Mr. Chandy.

The government had resurrected the case against Mr. Chandy soon after the AICC tipped him to lead the Congress into the electoral fray.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:18:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cbi-to-probe-chandy-in-rape-charge/article33650438.ece

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