CPI (M) suspends siege around Kerala Secretariat

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MPs from Kerala shout slogans during a protest against the solar scam at Parliament House in New Delhi. PTI Photo
MPs from Kerala shout slogans during a protest against the solar scam at Parliament House in New Delhi. PTI Photo

Thiruvanathapuram: The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front decided to suspend the siege around the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram today after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy ordered a judicial probe by a sitting high court judge in the solar scam scandal. The chief minister also told the media that he would consult the Opposition in deciding the terms of reference of the judicial probe. However, the chief minister also indicated that he would not resign.

CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan announced that the Left Front would suspend the present form of struggle against the chief minister, but would continue to boycott him in public. “The solar scam is no ordinary case of corruption. It has been engineered by the chief minister and his family. He had shielded the main culprits from the police. Although we are suspending the siege around the Secretariat, we will continue to boycott him. He will resign sooner or later,” Pinarayi said.

The siege around the Secretariat which started on 12 August had completed 28 hours, when Pinarayi announced this decision. Tension had been mounting in and around the Secretariat after about one lakh Left Front cadres gathered at the protest venue.

“The Oommen Chandy government has no moral authority to continue in power. No chief minister has supported criminals like him in the past. It’s only a matter of days before his destiny is decided,” said Vaikom Vishwan, Left Front co-ordinator.

On the morning of 12 August, members of the Left Front had gathered about one lakh protesters and laid siege around the Secretariat, demanding the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his alleged links in the solar scam.

The Left Front has been leading state-wide protests against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy after Saritha Nair, prime accused in the solar scam was arrested on 3 June, alleging the government helped the accused to dupe people. While the chief minister had stated that he had no connections with the accused, Kairalee, a television channel supported by CPI (M) had last week telecasted a photograph of Chandy sharing a public platform with Nair.

Opposition Leader VS Achuthanandan told TEHELKA that Chandy’s innings would be over soon. “Now he has ordered a judicial probe, but he has been discredited,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chandy maintained that the Opposition was not able to establish that the government gave any special favour to the solar company floated by the alleged fraudsters Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan. “Not a single rupee has been lost to the government exchequer due to the scam,” he pointed out.

The scam, which has been rocking the state for the past two months, pertains to financial cheating of many people by accused Radhakrishnan and Nair, both under arrest, by offering clients solar energy solutions. They allegedly flaunted their clout with the CM’s office for duping unsuspecting clients of huge sums. The case took a political turn after the arrest of a personal assistant of Chandy for his alleged links with the accused. A gunman of the chief minister was also suspended for his alleged association with the accused.

(with PTI inputs)

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Bureau Chief, South

Jeemon Jacob has been a journalist for 26 years both in print and television, as of 2011. He was a Reuters Fellow and spent nine months in Oxford University as visiting scholar in 1994-95. He has headed the political bureau in New Delhi of the Rashtra Deepika group of publications and later joined News Express in Brunei Darussalam as Features Editor. He won the Statesman award for rural reporting in 1987 for his seven articles that exposed a brown sugar racket in Kumily, Kerala.

In 1990, he won the state award for best reporting and in 1992, his article on social alienation of people with HIV/AIDS won the prestigious PUCL Award for human rights reporting in 1992. Jeemon is a graduate in English Literature and Journalism and has exposed the corruption behind the DMK government’s allotting prime land to high court judges, senior civil servants, and the kith and kin of politicians under the government’s discretionary quota. He is based in Thiruvananthapuram.

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