Chandy rules out resignation, judicial probe

Thiruvananthapuram, June 17 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, rebutting allegations of the Left opposition over a cheating case involving a woman in frequent contact with members of his staff, Monday ruled out his resignation over the matter.

He also said that a judicial probe, as demanded by members of the opposition, was out of the question.

“You have been demanding my resignation for long on various issues, and I tell you I will be in this chair as long as I can hold on to what I believe, and have done no wrong,” Chandy said in the assmbly, where the matter has taken up much time.

The woman at the centre of this controversy, Saritha S. Nair, and her former live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan, had formed a company “Team Solar”, engaged in erecting solar panels at offices and homes. They had managed to collect crores of rupees from influential people in the state.

Trouble started for Chandy after Nair was arrested June 3 following a complaint. A few days later, a Communist Party of India-Marxist-backed TV channel came out with a list of calls made by Nair, which showed she had maintained close links with the office of Chandy, especially his personal staff members.

Replying to leave sought for an adjournment motion moved by the Left member Mathew T. Thomas, Chandy clarified that there are 14 cases registered against the accused. The cases relate to the time when the previous V.S. Achuthanandan government was in office (2006-2011).

“You never did anything on these cases, and it was this government that went ahead and arrested the woman. Now you want a judicial probe. Why did you not do anything then, I wish to know,” Chandy said.

Interrupting his speech, CPI-M member and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told Chandy he could not pass the buck and wriggle out of an ugly situation.

“If you say we did not do anything, why don’t you include our period too under the purview of the judicial probe, so we can all be very clear how things stand? You are trying to run away by blaming others for your faults and lapses,” Balakrishnan said.

Intervening in the debate, Achuthanandan said Chandy’s son was under the care of an agent (Thomas Kuruvilla) who had to leave the state after being found to be involved in fraud cases.

“Kuruvilla is a Congress party worker, and is known to me for many years. None of you need to be worried, because everyone who has had a role in this cheating case will come in the net of the law; none of them will get away,” Chandy said.

Unhappy with the reply of Chandy, angry opposition members trooped to the well of the house shouting slogans. Speaker G. Karthikeyan quickly went through the listed business and adjourned the house for the day.

Outside the assembly, angry youth wing workers of the opposition clashed with police, who used tear gas shells and water cannons to disburse the protesters.

Similar protests were seen at other cities in the state.

The rival fronts are meeting later in the day to discuss the issue and consider their course of action.

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