Chandy gets full support from UDF in con-couple's dubious deals

Thiruvananthapuram, June 19 (IANS) A week has elapsed since the doings of a con-couple rocked the high and mighty, including the office of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, but the United Democratic Front (UDF) has decided to back him with all its might.

The Kerala assembly has virtually stopped functioning and is now witnessing a free-for-all as the Left opposition has announced that it will keep up the pressure till it sees the back of Chandy and a judicial probe into the sequence of events relating to the con-couple.

The situation was no different Wednesday as the Left opposition, after question hour was over, shouting slogans demanding that Chandy must go, forcing the adjournment of the house for the day after the listed business was quickly run through.

Government chief whip P.C.George said that after Wednesday's session, the UDF parliamentary party took a unanimous decision to support Chandy as he has done no wrong.

"Tomorrow (Thursday), the top leaders of the UDF will hold a joint press conference and public meetings will be held at three places in the state in the coming days to explain the misdeeds of the Left opposition on why they are making this much noise," George told IANS.

At the heart of the matter is Saritha S. Nair and her former live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan, who had formed a company, "Team Solar", engaged in erecting solar panels at offices and homes. They had managed to collect crores of rupees from influential people in the state on the promise of providing the equipment to tap green sources of energy but failed to deliver.

The two have since been arrested, but the trouble started after a TV channel backed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) came out with a list of calls made by Nair, which showed that she had maintained close links with Chandy's personal assistant Teny Jopan and one of his gunmen, Salim Raj. Both lost their jobs last week.

The normally cool Chandy, highly regarded for his impeccable integrity in public life ever since he became a legislator in 1970 (and has never lost an election since then), was on the defensive for the first few days after the revelations but has now regained his composure and has asked why he should quit because of telephone calls made by some others.

"There has been not a single paisa's loss to the exchequer and with regard to the conning of people by the couple, the law will take its course. During the Left regime (2006-11), even though there were numerous cases against this duo, not a single case was registered and only after this government came did the police register cases," Chandy said.

Caught in a maze of allegations that are coming thick and fast are those who helped the con-couple, including top politicians across the spectrum, the film industry and police officers.

(Sanu George can be contacted at sanu.g@ians.in)