Thrissur (Kerala): A court here on Thursday told Kerala's vigilance department to file an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on corruption charges in the solar panel scam. The Left immediately asked Chandy to resign. He refused to, saying he had done no wrong.
The Thrissur Vigilance Court also directed a First Information Report to be registered against Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed. The direction followed a petition by activist P.D. Joseph after Saritha Nair, a key accused in the scam, told the judicial commission probing the matter that she gave Rs.1.90 crore in bribes to Chandy.
She said on Wednesday that this done in two instalments and was part of the Rs.7 crore bribe demanded by Chandy through his then staff member Jikumon. Saritha Nair said she also paid Rs.40 lakh to minister Mohammed. In response to the court's direction, Chandy told reporters in Malappuram that he had a clear conscience.
"I have done no wrong. I will face the probe and cooperate with it," he said. Asked if would resign, Chandy shot back: "For what?"
His ministerial colleague Mohammad also said: "We have done no wrong. I will cooperate with the investigation that has been ordered." Meanwhile, CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters that Chandy has to quit immediately.
"The court has made its intentions clear through the FIR, and Chandy has only one way now to go forward and that is to quit at the earliest," said the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader.
The scam erupted in 2013 when a fradulent company, Team Solar, allegedly used two women to weave political contacts and duped several influential people of large sums of money by offering to make them business partners or by setting up solar panels.
Sources close to Chandy told IANS that he was speaking to lawyers to prepare a legal response.
The corruption allegations threaten to derail the Congress-led United Democratic Front's (UDF) bid to retain power in assembly elections to be held this year.
Congress leader and former Kerala chief minister A.K. Antony and party president Sonia Gandhi are reported to have discussed the issue along with Mukul Wasnik, who is in charge of the party affairs in the state.
State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran has held talks with Gandhi while Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has cancelled all his programmes for the day.