Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 04 March 2021 7.08 PM IST

Kerala govt to hand over solar sexual assault cases to CBI; Opp slams it as politically motivated


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Months ahead of assembly polls in Kerala, the LDF government has decided to recommend a CBI probe into cases against former chief minister Oommen Chandy and five others filed over allegations of sexual exploitation by a prime accused woman in the sensational solar scam.

The opposition Congress on Sunday dubbed the move as politically motivated, saying the CPIM-led government could not find anything against the party leaders in the last five years and taken the decision as elections were around the corner, while Chandy asserted he was ready to face any probe.

Union Minister V Muraleedharan also attacked the government, saying the decision for the Central Bureau of investigation probe had been taken in view of the polls.

Protesting the government move, Youth Congress workerstook out a march to the Secretariat here and burnt an effigyof Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

However, CPI-M state secretary in-charge AVijayaraghavan, rejecting the charge of political motivation,told reporters that it was only a natural course of action to''ensure justice to the complainant.'' After the state government decided to give its consentfor the CBI probe, a gazette notification has been issued.

The cases against the six, including Chandy, wereregistered over the past several years and investigated by theCrime Branch police based on a complaint by the woman accusedin the multi-crore solar panel scam during the previous UDFgovernment that she was sexually exploited by them in 2012.

Besides Chandy, who was recently appointed head of 10-member election management panel of the party for the statepolls expected in April-May, Congress MPs K C Venugopal, HibiEden and Adoor Prakash and MLA A P Anil Kumar and BJP leader AP Abdulla Kutty are the accused in the six cases.

The case against Abdulla Kutty had been registered in 2014when he was a Congress MLA from Kannur. He later joined BJP.

The complainant, who had levelled allegations of rapeagainst the Congress leaders, had recently written to ChiefMinister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking CBI probe as the policeprobe had limitations.

The woman and her co-accused in the scam had allegedlyduped several investors of crores of rupees by offering to setup solar panel units for them.

In a letter to the police commissioner on July 19, 2013,the woman had levelled charges of sexual misconduct andcorruption against several Congress and UDF leaders, includingChandy, some of his ministers and two former Union ministers.

This is the second case in which the LDF government hasrecommended an investigation by CBI this month. Earlier, onJanuary 11, it decided to hand over to the agency the probeinto the death of two minor sisters after alleged sexualassault in 2017 at Walayar.

The Vijayan government has been accusing the centralagencies of targeting it after they started investigating thegold smuggling cases and had in November last year withdrawngeneral consent to the CBI to probe cases in the state.

Reacting to the fresh development, senior Congress leaderRamesh Chennithala alleged it was a ''political stunt''.

For five years when the Left front government has been inpower, they could not find anything and when elections wereround the corner, the case has been handed over to the centralagency, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assemblysaid in a statement on Sunday.

Chandy, who headed the Congress-led UDF government duringthe turbulent days following the solar scam, said: ''What didthis (LDF) government do for five years with the case? Theyhave now handed it over to CBI.'' State Congress President Mullapally Ramachandran alsoslammed the government, alleging the CBI probe was done withulterior motives.

The cases were investigated by three senior IPS officersand nothing was found. ''This is politically motivated,''Ramachandran, told reporters.

Lashing out at the Vijayan government, Muraleedharansaid for five years the government ''failed to even lift asmall finger'' in the case and now when assembly polls werejust months away, it has decided to recommend the CBI probe.

In a statement, the BJP leader claimed the decision wastaken as the LDF feared defeat in the assembly polls due to''theloss of face it suffered'' following the probe by centralagencies into the gold smuggling case and the Life Missionproject.

BJP state president K Surendran said the CPI(M) and theLDF had earlier decided that there was no need for a CBI probein the solar case and a judicial probe would be sufficient.

As the elections were approaching, the change in stanceof the Left front was to cheat the people of the state, hesaid, adding the Judicial commission headed by former highcourt judge G Sivarajan, had also probed the case.

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