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CM Chandy appears before solar scam probe panel

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CM Chandy appears before solar scam probe panel
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Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday appeared before the one-member commission of Justice (retd) G. Sivarajan probing the solar scam in the state.

The sitting was held at 11 a.m. at Thycad guest house in Thiruvananthapuram.

This was the first time in the history of Kerala that a chief minister was summoned by an inquiry commission.

On Sunday, the chief minister though his counsel had filed an affidavit before the commission.

He, in the affidavit, reportedly claimed that the meeting with co-accused Saritha S Nair in Vigyan Bhawan was on December 27, 2012 and not December 29, 2012 as he had mentioned earlier in the Assembly, which was a mistake.

“The mistake in date occurred because of the wrong information given by a staff member in the department,” he said.

Sivarajan was appointed by the Kerala government in October 2013 to probe the solar scam after reports surfaced in June 2013 that three of the chief minister's office staff had contacts with a couple who cheated many investors by taking money for supplying solar panels to them. The three officials were immediately removed.

The couple -- Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan -- was arrested. While Nair is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is still in custody after it came to light that he murdered his first wife.

The government came under a massive Left opposition onslaught both inside and outside the assembly, forcing Chandy to announce a judicial probe.

Chandy, however, has all along maintained that he has done nothing wrong and was prepared to face any probe.

To make the investigation credible, he included in the terms of reference all statements made by the opposition inside and outside the assembly.

The commission, whose term ends in April 2016, has till now taken statements from top political leaders, including former chief minister and CPI-M veteran V.S. Achuthanandan and state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran.

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