There’s more trouble for the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala. An FIR has been ordered against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed in connection with the solar scam.
In a press conference addressed by the CM, just an hour after a Vigilance court ordered the registration of an FIR, a defiant Chandy denied all charges.
“I cannot be removed from the post by raising false alarms,” said Chandy while accusing the CPI-M led LDF of running a campaign against him.
However, the chief minister did assert that he would resign and withdraw from public life if the allegations were proved right.
CPI(M) veteran VS Achuthanandan demanded Chandy’s immediate resignation and warned of a massive agitation if he didn’t resign.
“He (Chandy) has no moral right to continue in power on technical grounds,” alleged Achuthanandan.
The clamour for Chandy’s ouster grew on Thursday after Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance) of Thrissur, directed the vigilance to register an FIR against Chandy and Arayadan in the case.
The court’s order came on a private complaint made by PD Joseph who had sought a vigilance probe on the claims made by prime accused Saritha that she had paid bribes for decisions in favour of ‘Team Solar Company.’
On Wednesday, prime accused Saritha S Nair while deposing before the Justice Sivarajan Commission in Kochi, alleged that she had paid Rs 1.90 crore as bribe to a close aide of the Chief Minister. She also alleged that she paid Rs 40 lakh to the power minister.
What’s interesting is that CM Chandy finds himself in the same place his former Finance Minister KM Mani and Excise Minister K Babu were in, a week ago. Babu resigned hours after the vigilance had filed an FIR against him in the bar bribery case on January 23. And Mani too was forced to quit after the High Court made some stinging observations against him.
Sources say that Chandy may find it difficult to pull it through this time, now that a Vigilance court has ordered the FIR.
However, the Congress has completely rubbished all rumours of Chandy’s immediate resignation.
“No need for Kerala CM Oommen Chandy to resign now…The CM will submit report to high command and will also have consultations with coalition partners in Kerala,” said Congress spokesperson in Delhi.
Meanwhile, CPI-M workers’ protest march by to the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram turned violent and the police had to resort to lathi-charge. The police also lobbed tear gas shells against the protesters who threw stones at the police while trying to push through the police cordons in front of the secretariat.
(With inputs from PTI)