Terms of reference of solar scam probe soon: Oommen Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 4 : Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said the terms of reference of the judicial probe into the alleged Solar scam will soon be announced.

"I have written to the chief justice of the Kerala High Court to see that the services of a sitting judge are made available for the probe. Once the name of the judge is received, the terms of reference will be announced," Chandy said.

Speculation was rife, meanwhile, that the chief minister and his office would fall within the purview of the judicial probe.

In the past two days, Chandy has held meetings with top leaders of his party and also allies in the state's coalition government to discuss how the matter could be resolved.

"Please wait a little more. Even if I say something, you will continue to have doubts," Chandy told reporters here after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The Left opposition has already submitted a list of 32 points that it wants the probe to cover. It has also sought that the chief minister quit, to ensure an impartial probe.

The Solar scam has been making headlines in the state 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 collecting large sums of money from investors. Several complaints against the couple were lodged with the state police.

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

A member of Chandy's personal staff was arrested in the case, and released on bail last week. Two other members of Chandy's personal staff lost their jobs in connection with this case.

Kerala Police have so far filed 33 cases against the couple. Actress Shalu Menon was also arrested, and later granted bail.

The Chandy government is likely to include, in the purview of the probe, more than a dozen cases filed during the previous Left government's tenure (2006-11). No action was taken against the accused in those cases during the tenure of the Left government.

--IANS (Posted on 04-09-2013)

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