Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala was on Wednesday at the receiving end with chief minister Oommen Chandy facing the heat in the solar scam with a prime accused alleging that bribes of over Rs 2 crore had been paid to him and a minister in his Cabinet, even as the Opposition demanded governor’s intervention.
The development comes barely days after the resignation of excise minister K. Babu hours after a vigilance court directed registering of an FIR against him in the bar bribery case.
The storm over the resignation, the second in the case after senior-most legislator and finance minister K.M. Mani was forced to quit in the same case, was yet to subside, when a fresh wave of embarrassment hit the Congress government, months before the Assembly polls.
Kicking up a political storm this morning, Saritha, who appeared before the justice Sivarajan commission at Kochi, trained her guns against the CM and his senior cabinet colleague and power minister, Aryadan Muhammed. She alleged that Rs 1.90 crore had been given to Mr Chandy’s key aide to set up mega solar projects in Kerala and about Rs 40 lakh had been given to the personal assistant of Mr Muhammed. Both Mr Chandy and Mr Muhammed have denied the charges.
Mr Chandy said it was “an attempt by Saritha to wriggle out” of the case after the scam broke out.
“Let her state what benefit she got after allegedly bribing us?” Mr Chandy told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram after a Cabinet meeting.
The cheques Saritha had handed over for relief fund had also bounced, he said.
“I have not helped her in any way. The commission will come out with all the truth. Saritha was given a lot of opportunities to tell her version,” Mr Chandy, who had deposed before the commission for a marathon 14 hours, said.
Saritha alleged Mr Chandy’s former PA Jikkumon, who had sought Rs 7 crore bribe in connection with setting up mega solar projects in various parts of the state, had insisted that the money meant for Mr Chandy be handed over to one Thomas Kuruvilla in Delhi, reportedly Mr Chandy’s unofficial aide. “I handed over Rs 1.10 crore to Kuruvilla at the parking ground of a shopping mall in Chandni Chowk,” she told the commission, two days after Mr Chandy deposed before it.
Saritha said she had met the CM on December 27, 2012 at Vigyan Bhavan when he was about to leave for the airport after attending a meeting of national development council.
Mr Muhammed said Saritha had come to see him and sought certain concessions for her firm, which were not given.