Oommen Chandy new

The solar scam is stirring the political cauldron in election-bound Kerala. As the Left and BJP cashed in on the corruption allegations against chief minister Oommen Chandy in the solar scam, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is understood to have asked for papers and details related to the case.

Senior party leader AK Antony, who was former chief minister of Kerala, met Sonia. Though party leaders said the meeting was not to discuss the Kerala issue, insiders, said Sonia has asked for papers and relevant details, before taking any final decision. So far, Congress policy has been to ask its leaders to step down once the case goes under judicial process.

Party spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said prima facie, Congress was of the opinion that there is no need for Chandy to resign now…”We will seek all legal remedies whenever need arises,” he said.

Surjewala said the chief minsiter not only set up the judicial commission to probe all matters concerning the scam but also appeared before it. “Not a single question or suggestion (of corruption) was put to Chandy even when counsel of the same accused was present…. It is election time in Kerala, mischievous and malicious allegations will continue to fly… No need for the Kerala chief minister to resign now,” he said.

Noting that the party would like to await the report of the judicial commission which was set up after consultations with the Opposition, he said that the finding of the Commission “will be acceptable to us”. He confirmed that a detailed report will be submitted to Congress party leadership in this regard.

This comes on a day the BJP accused Gandhis of protecting Chandy as they themselves were facing corruption charges in the National Herald case.

Meanwhile, Chandy got some respite with the high court on Friday staying for two months the Vigilance Court order to conduct a probe against him and his cabinet colleague Aryadan Muhammed.

However, there was no let up in BJP’s tirade. A day after it fielded union minister Nirmala Sitharaman to demand Chandy’s resignation, spokesperson MJ Akbar held a press conference to target him and the party high command.

“When the high command is standing in the court facing corruption charges, perhaps they have no longer any moral authority to ask one of their chief ministers to resign for the same reason. Otherwise they would have to probably resign themselves,” Akbar said.

The BJP had upped the ante following allegations by Saritha S Nair, an accused in the case, that she paid a bribe to Chandy.

In a state where the BJP has never won any Lok Sabha or assembly seat in the state, the party is trying to make inroads by mainly wean away the votes of the CPM-led LDF.

Vigilance judge seeks permission to take voluntary retirement
Hours after Kerala High Court stayed his order to register FIR against Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy and power minister Aryadan Mohammed in the solar scam, and made strong observations against him, special Judge S S Vassan on Friday sought permission to take voluntary retirement.

Vassan has sent a request to the high court registrar seeking permission to undertake voluntary retirement, said court sources. The high court on Friday stayed the vigilance court order directing to register an FIR against Chandy and Mohammed and observed that “judge had acted mechanically without knowing the nature and extend of his powers”.

The court had also directed the administrative section to consider action against Vassan observing that “the Vigilance Court suffers jurisdiction errors.” Vassan in his order had yesterday also observed that “every one is equal before law, be it a village man or a Chief Minister”.

The vigilance court’s order was on the basis of a complaint filed by one P D Joseph following the serious allegations made by solar scam accused Saritha S Nair that bribe amount of Rs 1.90 crore had been paid to Chandy and Rs 40 lakh to Mohammed for getting favourable decisions for the fraudulent solar company.

Read full article: DNA