Kerala chief minister is a hassled man (Letter from Kerala)

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 3 : Besieged by Marxists whereever he goes, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is a hassled man in Kerala.

Tuesday marks the third month after the first arrest took place in what has now come to be known as the "solar scam".

The Left opposition refuses to budge on the issue. It insists that Chandy is not serious about asking a Kerala High Court judge to head the judicial probe into the scandal.

"We will continue to boycott Chandy and also intensify our agitation till our demand is met," said Left Democratic Front convenor Vaikom Viswan.

As a result, the chief minister has on a few occasions stayed away from public functions. When he decides to go, Left supporters follow him in large numbers, causing tension.

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor calls the Left tactic undemocratic.

"The Left has no business to waylay the chief minister because he has been elected by the people for five years," he said.

"The Left lost the election. There is no reason for him to resign."

The solar scam has been making headlines in Kerala since June 3 when a woman, Saritha Nair, was arrested.

Two weeks later, her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan was also taken into custody.

The two allegedly defrauded people by offering solar energy solutions at huge discounts.

The couple failed to make good their promises after large sums of money were collected. Police received many complaints against them.

Telephone call records of the couple revealed they had been in close touch with influential people in Kerala.

While one member of Chandy's personal staff was arrested in the case - he was released on bail last week - two others lost their jobs.

Chandy says that not a single rupee of the state exchequer has been lost in the scam. The scam amount is around Rs.7 crore and police have slapped 33 cases.

In West Bengal, a chit firm had defrauded 1.4 million depositors, who lost close to Rs.3,000 crore, he said.

"There, the Left is silent," Chandy said.

With Home Minister T. Radhakrishnan saying that the high court has intimated that it is unable to provide a sitting judge, the chief minister will again write to the chief justice.

--IANS (Posted on 03-09-2013)

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