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Saritha’s statement: HC issues showcause notice to Additional CJM

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Saritha’s statement: HC issues showcause notice to Additional CJM
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Kochi: The High Court Tuesday issued showcause notice to Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences), N V Raju, seeking an explanation from him within 15 days with regard to alleged lapses on his part in not recording the in camera statement of Solar Panel scam accused Saritha S Nair on July 20 this year.

Kerala High Court Registrar, who conducted a probe into the charge, had found that there were 'serious lapses' on his part in not recording the statement of Saritha.

The probe was ordered following two complaints filed in the high court alleging that the magistrate had refused to record the statement of Sarita despite hearing her for about 20 minutes incamera.

It also found fault on the Magistrate's part in not recording the complaint of Saritha even though she had alleged that she had been sexually abused. The Magistrate also allegedly did not permit Saritha to contact her lawyer Fenny Balakrishnan.

Inquiry also revealed that the magistrate had made adverse remarks against the media.

High Court Vigilance has sought explanation from the Magistrate on these points within 15 days, court sources said.

The explanation of the magistrate will be placed before the administrative committee consisting of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and other senior judges of high court.

Further action will be taken on the basis of decision by administrative committee.

The enquiry was ordered by the high court following complaints from A Jayashankar, general secretary of the Indian Association of Lawyers, Kerala, and BJP General secretary, K Surendran seeking disciplinary against the magistrate and to suspend him immediately.

According to the complainants, despite Sarita's plea, the magistrate had refused to record her confidential statement when she was produced in the court on July 20 and had instead asked her to make a written complaint and hand it to the superintendent of the Attakulangara jail where she is lodged.

Following the magistrate's directions, Sarita had filed a three-page complaint to the jail superintendent while there were media reports that she had earlier prepared an over 20 page report to be submitted to the magistrate which allegedly contained names of politicians.

The Solar Panel scam, in which several people were cheated crores of rupees by promising solar solutions, had taken a political turn after a close aide of the chief minister office was arrested for his alleged links with Sarita.

Two other members of the Chief Minister's Office were also suspended following which the opposition Left Democratic front launched demonstrations demanding the chief minister's resignation.

PTI

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