Accusations muddy solar scam

Accusations muddy solar scam

 Union Minister K C Venugopal was mired in a controversy on Sunday when community leader Vellapally Natesan alleged that he has links with a woman accused in the multi-crore solar panel scam that rocked Kerala.

The minister denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the “big conspiracy” hatched by Natesan.

The allegations have come at a time when the Congress is facing one of its worst crises in Kerala with the scam reaching the doorsteps of Chief Minister Ommen Chandy’s office with one of his aides getting arrested in the case.

The charges against Venugopal, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, came a day after a BJP leader named two Kerala ministers for allegedly trying to mediate between Saritha S Nair, the accused in the scam, and affected politicians to ensure that she does not name them in court or to the police.

Natesan levelled allegations against the Minister while speaking in Allapuzha, the Lok Sabha constituency of Venugopal.

Natesan also belongs to the district.In reaction, Venugopal challenged Natesan to prove the allegations and threatened to initiate legal action against him.

The minister said the community leader was resorting to character assassination in a bid to defeat him in the next Lok Sabha election.

“This is not the first time he is trying to defeat me in the elections. He tried it in 2001, 2004 and 2009. I have never denied that I had met Saritha S Nair. She had come to invite me for two functions. But I did not go. She called me over telephone with regard to the functions. I had already made these things public,” he said.

Venugopal also denied that he met Union New and Renewable Minister Farooq Abdullah for seeking favours for Nair.

He said he is not one to run away from the public, and that he and his family were disturbed by the rumour campaign in the state following the unravelling of the scam.

Meanwhile. Chandy and KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala, who may be inducted in the Cabinet as Deputy Chief Minister or Home Minister, are in Delhi to discuss the reshuffle and organisational matters arising out of the scam.

They will meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday on the issue of the latter’s entry into the state cabinet at a time when the government is facing flak over the solar panel scam.

Chennithala is already in Delhi and meeting some of the party’s central leaders.

Chandy told reporters on Sunday that the deadlock over Chennithala’s Cabinet induction is expected to be eased in New Delhi over the next couple of days.

Those close to Chennithala said that he is reluctant to join the government under these circumstances and would convey his position to Gandhi.

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