The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing a complaint by main accused in the solar scam, Saritha Nair, has registered FIRs against senior Congress leader and former chief minister Oommen Chandy, and former Union minister and Congress functionary in charge of Karnataka affairs, K C Venugopal. It will also pursue the rape charges against the duo, The Hindu has reported.
In an FIR filed on Saturday in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvananthapuram, the Crime Branch charged Chandy with committing a sexual act deemed by law as “unnatural” on Saritha, in reciprocation for promoting her dubious business proposal.
Saritha earlier alleged that she met Chandy to seek his patronage for getting approval for her solar energy projects. Saritha’s access to Chandy was facilitated by close aides in the Chief Minister’s Office. Saritha charged that Chandy had sought and received sexual favours as a quid pro quo for promoting her commercial interests.
In October last, the Left Front government in Kerala ordered a vigilance probe against Oomen Chandy for his role in the Kerala solar scam. This followed a report by a judicial commission headed by Justice G Sivarajan, which probed the scam. The report was submitted four years after the commission was constituted, a day prior to the end of its tenure. The commission also observed that sexual favours could be construed as “illegal gratification” as defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act. The commission recommended that the government investigate all persons named by Saritha as her exploiters.
In April 2016, a letter purportedly written by Saritha surfaced, accusing Chandy of sexually abusing her at Cliff House – the official residence of the Chief Minister in Thriruvananthapuram. The letter was dated 19 March 2013.
Claimed to have been written by her under the custody of the Perumbavoor police, she also alleged that she was raped by a Union Minister. Saritha admitted to writing the letter, but hid it from the Solar Commission during the probe, saying she was embarrassed and afraid of the consequences.
After the solar scam first hit the headlines in 2013, the CPI(M)-led LDF Opposition had launched a massive agitation, including a 30-hour siege of the secretariat, demanding Chandy's resignation. Two members of Chandy’s team – Tenny Joppen and Jikkumon – were removed for their alleged links with Saritha.
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