Judicial probe in Kerala solar scam, Left ends siege

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 13 : Kerala's Congress-led UDF government Tuesday announced a judicial probe into the solar scam case after which the Left opposition withdrew their siege of the secretariat here.

After hectic parleys at a meeting of the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, it was announced that a sitting judge of the Kerala High Court would conduct an inquiry into the solar scam.

"We have decided to announce a judicial probe by a sitting judge. We invite the Left opposition to discuss the terms of reference for the inquiry," Chandy said.

The Left laid siege to the secretariat demanding Chandy's resignation for his "links" to the solar scam, in which Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan allegedly defrauded people by offering solar energy solutions at huge discounts and not delivering. They allegedly used their clout in Chandy's office for duping people.

The Left opposition's supporters had laid siege to the state secretariat Monday morning and had cordoned off three gates of the complex.

However, Monday saw 67 percent attendance at the secretariat. To avoid any confrontation, the government had announced a two-day holiday for the secretariat, the seat of the Kerala government.

"The Kerala government has accepted one part of our demand, but we want Chandy to quit as convention is such that when a judicial probe is on, the chief minister has to resign. Since he is not, we will continue to boycott all his programmes. But we are ending our secretariat siege now," said CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

Chandy said that when the terms of reference are drawn up, the role of the chief minister would not be under its ambit.

"The opposition has pointed out numerous allegations, but they have not been able to substantiate them. Hence, the chief minister will not come under scrutiny. When a judicial probe was announced in 1957 in Kerala, no one resigned," Chandy said.

"They (the Left) can claim a victory, but I made my stand clear in the assembly that we are open to any probe but only after police investigation in the solar scam cases get over. That is now over, and hence we have announced the judicial probe. We want the Left opposition to cooperate with us for drawing the terms of reference," said Chandy.

--IANS (Posted on 13-08-2013)

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