Kerala

Solar case resurfaces on poll eve

The shadow of the “solar case” that bedevilled the previous Oommen Chandy government appears to have received a new lease of life as electoral politics seem to turn intensely personal in the run-up to the local body and Assembly elections in Kerala. The scandal reared its head again at a United Democratic Front election meeting at Thalavoor in Kollam on Saturday.

One of the speakers, Saranya Manoj Kumar, a former confidant now at odds with K.B. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, triggered a television news cycle by accusing his former party leader of using the woman accused in the solar case as a cat’s paw to tarnish the Congress. Mr. Manoj also alleged that Saji Cherian, MLA, who was then the district secretary of the CPI(M) in Alappuzha, had aided Mr. Ganesh in the “conspiracy”. Mr. Cherian has denied the accusation.

The woman had told the judicial commission that probed the economic offence that she was sexually exploited for getting the imprimatur of a set of ruling Congress leaders for her business venture.

The commission had given weightage to a letter she had penned in police custody in 2013.

The judge concluded that demanding sex for official favours was illegal gratification and, hence, a crime. He recommended investigation into the victim’s grievance.

Mr. Manoj had alleged that Mr. Ganesh had “used” the “explosive letter” to get back at the Congress leadership for not reinstating him in the Oommen Chandy cabinet after he was forced to step down following a marital dispute. In 2016, the government ordered a probe against persons named by the alleged victim.

In October 2018, the Crime Branch took cognisance of the complaint and opened a criminal inquiry against Mr. Chandy and others.

The alleged victim has vehemently refuted Mr. Manoj’s insinuations. She claimed the complaint was her own and she was due to give affidavits freshly to bolster her case.

Mr. Chandy said truth was inexorable. The MLA was yet to respond to the charges.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:40:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/solar-case-resurfaces-on-poll-eve/article33202732.ece

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