Impasse in Kerala assembly over cheating case

Thiruvananthapuram, June 18 (IANS) The impasse in the Kerala Assembly continued for the fourth day Tuesday with the opposition demanding that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy order a probe and quit office over his staff’s involvement in a cheating case. The house was adjourned for the day.

Within minutes of the assembly meeting for the question hour, opposition members started shouting anti-government slogans, forcing Speaker G. Karthikeyan to adjourn the house for the day.

Saritha S. Nair and her former live-in partner 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 on the promise of providing the equipment to tap green sources of energy.

Following numerous complaints of cheating, Nair was arrested on June 3.

After her arrest, a TV channel backed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist came out with a list of calls made by Nair, which showed that she had maintained close links with the office of Chandy.

Nair’s telephone call details showed that she had been in close contact with Chandy’s personal assistant Teny Jopan, and one of his gunmen, Salim Raj. Both lost their jobs last week.

Radhakrishnan was arrested from Coimbatore Monday.

After leading the opposition members out of the assembly, leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and others squatted in front of the assembly complex.

“We stand by our demand that Chandy must go. But we were surprised to see the speaker wounding up the day’s proceedings in a flash. Chandy has been supporting a company that has swindled crores of rupees from the public and he is now defending them,” Achuthanandan said.

State Excise and Ports Minister K. Babu, however, said the opposition is creating a needless controversy.

“The news that has been in public domain on this case has been rebutted by the chief minister with complete conviction. The opposition is creating a smokescreen and misleading the public,” Babu said.

“The chief minister has already assured that severe action would be taken against guilty. Why can’t they wait for the probe report. Moreover, the cases that are being probed were registered when the Left ruled the state,” Babu added.

Later, the opposition members called on the speaker to register their protest in the manner in which he adjourned the house in a flash.

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