Oommen Chandy's statement taken in solar scam case: Advocate general

Kochi, Oct 9 : A statement was taken from Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy by the Special Investigation Team of state police probing what has come to be termed the "solar scam", the state's advocate general told the Kerala high court Wednesday.

Advocate General K.P. Dandapani was responding to a petition filed by activist K. Joy demanding that the CCTV installed in Chandy's office be seized to examine if one of the accused in the case, currently lodged in jail, had indeed met Chandy along with businessman Sreedharan Nair.

Sreedharan Nair, one of those defrauded in the case, complained that he had lost money he entrusted to a couple who promised him an agency to manufacture solar panels. He had asserted that he had even met the chief minister accompanied by Saritha Nair, one of the accused in the case.

Dandapani told the court that a statement had been taken from Chandy to ascertain if such a meeting had occurred.

Asked why a statement was taken from Chandy when no complaint had been lodged against the chief minister in the case, the advocate general replied that the exercise was undertaken to ensure transparency in the investigation.

The case diary was later handed over to the court in a sealed cover. The advocate general said the CCTV and its accessories were also handed over for further examination.

The solar scam has been making headlines in Kerala since June 3, when Saritha Nair was arrested. Two weeks later, her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan was also taken into custody.

The couple allegedly defrauded people by offering solar energy solutions at huge discounts, and often lured people into investing in their enterprise by citing an acquaintance with people in high office in the state government.

The couple failed to make good promises made to clients, and several cases were lodged against them with state police.

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 and released on bail later, two others lost their jobs.

The state police have so far charged the couple with 33 cases. In some of the cases, popular TV actress Shalu Menon was also accused. Menon is out on bail.

--IANS (Posted on 09-10-2013)

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