Solar scam: LDF steps up stir, Chandy rules out resignation

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 18: As the CPI(M)-led LDF Opposition stepped up the agitation over the solar scam inside and outside the Assembly, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today categorically rejected the demand for his resignation, asserting that he had not done any wrong.

While the Opposition forced the adjournment of the House minutes after the sitting began and their feeder outfits hit the streets across the state, Chandy ruled out yielding to Opposition pressures. "Why should I resign? I haven't done anything wrong," he told reporters here and dared the Opposition to produce any evidence to show he had done even a small favour to the company, which duped large number of people offering installation of solar panels.

He accused LDF of campaigning against him by levelling baseless charges and said that their intention behind stalling the assembly proceedings was to cover up lapses in investigation into the company's fraudulent deals during the previous LDF rule. The prime accused in the case Biju Radhakrishnan was arrested yesterday, while his accomplice Saritha Nair is already in police custody.

The scam snowballed into a political issue after two personal staff members of the Chief Minister were allegedly found to have made frequent phone calls to Saritha. They were removed from the Chief Minister's office and a special police team constituted to probe deals of the company and its links with bigwigs.

Oommen Chandy

Earlier in the day, LDF members showing placards and waving banners rushed to the House shouting slogans, forcing the adjournment of the sitting. Speaker G Karthikeyan first suspended question hour and zero hour, but soon adjourned the house for the day after rushing through the business on the agenda as an unrelenting Opposition declined to be pacified.

LDF members then marched to the main entrance of the Assembly and sat on a dharna led by Opposition Leader and Marxist veteran V S Achuthanandan. Police used water cannons in front of the secretariat to disperse agitating SFI and DYFI workers. BJP's youth wing Yuva Morcha also took out a protest march.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan alleged that Biju Radhakrishnan and Sarita Nair were given protection by certain 'invisible forces' during the previous LDF rule. The Home department had received four complaints about the duo when CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the Home Minister, but none of them were properly looked into, he said.

The Opposition had a 'hidden agenda' in raising allegations against the UDF government on the issue now and was trying to disrupt the ongoing investigation, which was moving at a fast pace and in the right direction, he said. The Opposition charge that the government was helping the culprits had been proved false with the arrest of Biju Radhakrishnan, the minister said. He said even the case against Radhakrishnan for murdering his first wife was not properly investigated during LDF rule. It was only on May 25 last that the crime branch registered a murder case against him. He said Radhakrishnan had met the Chief Minister in 2012 when there was no murder case against him. The minister denied that police had used excessive force to disperse protesters in front of the Assembly yesterday and said that the police was 'provoked' to take action.

PTI

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