Even as a vigilance court on Thursday ordered registration of an FIR against Oommen Chandy, the Kerala chief minister said that he will not step down from his post. The court’s order came a day after solar scam accused Saritha S Nair deposed before a judicial commission alleging that she paid Rs 1.90 crore as bribe to him.
“I will not quit. I have no plans of getting ousted, after being humiliated with allegations. But, if there is an iota of truth in the allegation, I will quit not only public office, but political activities,” Chandy told reporters.
According to the chief minister, it was the bar hotel owners who masterminded Saritha Nair’s allegations after losing their case in the Supreme Court. He argues that the bar owners, who are out of business, are determined to topple the Congress-led UDF government.
The vigilance court in Thrissur had ordered that an FIR be registered against Chandy and state power minister Aryadan Muhammed based on the disclosures made by Saritha Nair. The court acted upon a PIL filed by an activist in Thrissur.
The new revelations of the solar scam accused came close on the heels of CM’s refusal to undergo a lie-detector test, while deposing before the judicial commission.
Nair and her boyfriend-turned-foe Biju Radhakrishnan had floated Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Private Limited in 2011. They were arrested in 2013 for allegedly duping investors from whom they collected crores of rupees for a solar power project. Last month, Radhakrishnan, currently serving life term for the murder of his wife, claimed before the commission that he had paid R5.5 crore to Chandy as bribe.
The only silver lining on Chandy’s dark cloud of woes is that on Thursday, Kerala High Court has stayed a vigilance court order against state excise minister K Babu on bar bribery case. Although the minister had tendered his resignation six days ago when the vigilance court order tidings came, the CM had refrained from accepting Babu’s resignation.
The high court had observed that the lower court showed unnecessary haste in ordering the probe and stayed the inquiry for two months. Instead, the court ordered that a QVR (Quick Verification Report) should be filed within 10 days.