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Solar panel fraud rocks Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, June 20, 2013 DHNS: 0:52 IST
Police charge AIYF activists during their protest march demanding Kerala CM's resignation over solar panel scam in Kozhikode on Tuesday. PTI Photo
The State Legislative Assembly witnessed high drama on Thursday with the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) legislators having a go at each other over the solar panel fraud.

Trouble started after the Opposition proposed an emergency motion on revelations made by the lawyer of Biju Radhakrishnan – the prime suspect in the case – pointing to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s connection with the fraud. As a debate on the credibility of the lawyer’s claims kicked off, the Opposition MLAs, including V S Sunil Kumar, lined up in the well of the House and headed towards the UDF members before leaders intervened and brought the situation under control. Speaker G Karthikeyan soon adjourned the House.

The Opposition, under V S Achuthanandan, later apprised Governor Nikhil Kumar about the situation. The leaders demanded a judicial probe with Chandy out of (CM’s) office. Earlier, Minister for Home Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan informed the legislators that the Chandy’s personal staff with alleged links to the fraud would be interrogated. He added that B N Haskar, Biju’s lawyer, was co-accused in a case involving the arrested duo, Biju and Sarita S Nair.

Achuthanandan, who had been criticised by UDF for his comment that the Home Minister deserved “a slap” for his comments during Wednesday’s session, withdrew the remark on Thursday. The mood, however, is unlikely to get any lighter when the session resumes on Monday.

The allegations and counter offensives have dominated the state’s political scene for a week. Assembly sittings have been stalled repeatedly and the deadlock has also led to inadequate administrative measures when torrential rain continues to lash different parts of the state.

Later in the day, government Chief Whip P C George lived up to his controversial image by making a “revelation” that Siju, a policeman and member of Achuthanandan’s security staff, was involved in the solar panel fraud by the duo’s company, Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions. He also denied that he had said the fraud involved about Rs 10,000 crore.

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