1. Solar scam: Trouble for Oommen Chandy, but Saritha Nair is happy, says no woman should be sexually abused

Solar scam: Trouble for Oommen Chandy, but Saritha Nair is happy, says no woman should be sexually abused

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced the Kerala government's decision to initiate a probe against former CM Oommen Chandy.

By: | New Delhi | Published: October 11, 2017 1:39 PM
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Oommen Chandy, solar scam, solar scam PROBE, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Saritha Nair  Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced the Kerala government’s decision to initiate a probe against former CM Oommen Chandy. (Image: IE)

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced the Kerala government’s decision to initiate a probe against former CM Oommen Chandy. This announcement has been made after revealing the findings of the Justice Sivarajan Commission which had probed the solar scam. As per Manorama News, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also announced today that a criminal case will be registered against the state’s former Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan for helping Chandy to escape the case.

However, Saritha Nair, the woman at the center of the solar scam scandal in Kerala, is happy at the turn of events and said that she welcomes the Kerala government’s decision to begin a probe against former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. According to Manorama News, Saritha Nair stated that no woman should ever be sexually abused by politicians again. According to today’s Manorama News report, Saritha’s letter dated July 19, 2013, named the then CM Chandy and other top leaders in UDF as those who sought sexual favors from her in connection with the solar scam.

The solar scam is one of the biggest scandals that rocked the Kerala government which had CM Oommen Chandy’s name dragged through the political mudslinging that subsequently ensued, following Saritha Nair’s allegations and heated debates on this by the local media channels. So, where did the solar scam begin? Believe it or not, it first began as a simple cheating case but turned out to be a sensational political scandal that put a big dent in the Chandy-led UDF government’s image. Here’s how it began:

A Gulf-returned businessman named Sajad filed a complaint that a couple had cheated him by taking Rs 40 lakh as consultation fee and promising to make him a partner in their solar fields project but nothing materialized. Following this complaint, in June 2013, Kerala cops arrested Saritha S Nair along with her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan, who were partners in a Kochi based firm that offered solar energy solutions. How did they get started? They began by collecting money from top businessmen and NRIs, promising to make them partners in solar fields and windmill projects.

In the beginning, it was a simple case of cheating. The couple would collect investments from businessmen and NRIs, promising to make them partners. Notably, the couple flaunted their political connections and proximity to the then CM Chandy to convince potential investors to invest in their venture – this was amongst the most-talked about issue in the case. According to local media reports, Saritha Nair and her partner used to impress potential investors by calling the then CM’s staff directly on the phone and one such meeting reportedly took place in the CM’s conference room.

Local media channels such as Manorama News and Asianet News also reported at the time that Saritha Nair’s call records showed that several calls were made to the then CM’s staff members including Joppen whose cellphone Oommen Chandy is known to use. The political uproar was in full throttle when there were clear insinuations made that Saritha Nair had directly been in touch with Oommen Chandy. To add fuel to fire, more names started tumbling out of the UDF closet, with Saritha Nair’s call records showing that she was in touch with over 30 odd UDF leaders including two prominent figures who had been Union Ministers at the time!

In several media interviews, Saritha Nair had told journalists that she is ”close to Chandy’s family and “is a frequent visitor to his office and residence.”When Saritha Nair came out of jail in 2014, she received a celebrity status of sorts, with local media channels hanging on to every word that she spoke and asking questions about her relationship with Chandy and other UDF leaders. Chandy’s three staff members including Joppen and his bodyguard Salim Raj were fired. Meanwhile, the list of names of politicians connected with Saritha Nair kept growing, adding more political sensationalism to the solar scam. Now, with this latest move to initiate a probe, the spotlight is back on former CM Oommen Chandy again

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