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Kozhikode (Kerala): Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday called the accusation against him in the solar panel scam "a deep-rooted conspiracy".
"A section of the bar owners are behind this new revelation. They are angry with us because we got the liquor policy cleared from the Supreme Court. This is a deep-rooted conspiracy because there have been talks that this government might retain power and the CPI-M has also fallen into it," Chandy told reporters here on Thursday.
Saritha Nair, one of the main accused in the case, revealed on Wednesday before the solar judicial commission that she had given Rs.1.90 crore in two installments. This, she claimed, was part of the Rs.7 crore bribe demanded by Chandy through his then staff member Jikumon.
"What is strange is that till last week she was seen describing me as a father figure and suddenly she makes this new allegation. There is not an iota of truth in her allegations and this is nothing but a conspiracy hatched by vested interests," added Chandy.
Youth activists from the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party tried to block the way of Chandy, who arrived at the Kozhikode railway station in the early hours. Police had a tough time to make a safe passage for his car.
Ever since this allegation surfaced, the calls for Chandy to step down have increased, with the CPI-M-led Left opposition announcing that it would step up their demand for his resignation.
State Information Minister K.C.Joseph told IANS that in 2014, Saritha Nair in an interview to a leading vernacular magazine had alleged that she was offered Rs.10 crore by the CPI-M to include Chandy's name in the list of those involved in the solar panel scam.
"It's surprising that yesterday while the CPI-M was highlighting her statement against the chief minister, all wished to know what the CPI-M has to say on her interview that the CPI-M had offered her money to speak against Chandy," said Joseph.
With the Kerala assembly all set for its final session starting February 5, senior CPI legislator and former minister C. Divakaran told reporters here on Thursday that Chandy will have to quit just like former finance minister K.M. Mani.
"At this point of time, nothing can be said...We are going to come out with strong protests," said Divakaran.
State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday said that there is a conspiracy behind Saritha's new claim.
"It's surprising that new revelations are coming from new quarters and hence there is no doubt that there is a conspiracy against this government," said Chennithala.
Saritha Nair is expected to appear before the commission later in the day.