Kerala CM's former staff member gets bail
Two accused in the solar scam that rocked the Oommen Chandy government in Kerala, including Tenny Jopan, who had been working as personal staff of the Kerala chief minister, got bail from the high court Friday.
The other accused to get bail Friday was Shalu Menon, a popular actress.
Jopan was arrested June 28, while Menon was taken into custody July 11.
While Jopan is likely to be out of prison by Saturday, Menon will be unable to taste freedom just yet, as another case against her is pending, and she is still to get bail in that case.
The case relates to the fraud perpetrated by Saritha S. Nair and her former live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan, whose company "Team Solar", promised to put up solar panels at discounted rates in offices and homes.
The couple collected large sums of money from influential people in the state on the promise of providing the equipment to tap green sources of energy, but failed to make good their promise. Several people who had invested large sums of money complained to the police.
The couple have 33 cases registered against them. Jopan and Menon were found to have close links with the couple.
Jopan was arrested on a complaint from a businessman duped by Saritha Nair. Police found out that Jopan had a role in the cheating case.
Menon, the actress, apart from having a role in defrauding another businessman, was found to also have been a major custodian of the money that Radhakrishnan secured by cheating.
Menon has been asked to surrender her passport and deposit Rs.1 lakh, and also offer two sureties; Jopan was asked to deposit Rs.50,000 and two sureties.
Police claim that the couple had duped several people, and a sum of at least Rs.7 crore is involved in the case. Ever since the scam first broke, the Left opposition in the state has been demanding that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy step down, as several people close to him have been tarred in the case.
The opposition has been demanding that a judicial probe should be ordered to get to the bottom of the case.
Chandy has since announced a judicial probe in the scam.
The Left opposition Friday submitted a letter to the state government, asking that the terms of the judicial probe be framed such that Chandy and the role of his office too can be investigated.
Chandy has repeatedly said that although several allegations are made, nothing has yet been provided to establish that anyone in his office -- or he himself -- are in any way involved in the scam.
"Just wait and see. When the terms of reference (for the probe) come out shortly, you'll see what is there," Chandy said.
(Posted on 23-08-2013)