Congress says CPI-M coerced businessman to malign Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram, July 11 (IANS) The Congress party Thursday alleged that top leaders of the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist in the state were involved in coercing a businessman to turn against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Addressing reporters here, Congress vice-president M.M. Hassan said that top CPI-M leaders like Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Thomas Issac and Elamaram Kareem (all former ministers, serving at present as legislators) played a role in pressuring Sreedharan Nair into dragging Chandy in the case popularly known as the "solar scam".

"We request the investigation team probing the solar scam case to see if the businessman was blackmailed by these leaders," Hassan said.

The scam occurred after a couple, Saritha Nair and her partner Biju Radhakrishnan, made promises to many people of the installation of solar panels at subsidised rates. When the panels were not delivered despite payments, large numbers of complaints were made to police by people who had invested money in the project, and the couple was arrested.

It was found that members of Chandy's personal staff were in touch with Saritha Nair. A prominent Malayalam TV actress, Shalu Menon, has also been arrested in the case for her close dealings with Biju Radhakrishnan.

Sreedharan Nair, a businessman, is now in the eye of the storm of controversy, as he claimed that he invested in the solar panel business only after Saritha Nair introduced him to Chandy, at the latter's office. Nair also claimed that Chandy had complimented him on his investment in the solar energy project.

"Sreedharan Nair, as has been seen in the past many days, has retracted (his statement) not once, but a few times. This is where we see the hands of these CPI-M leaders, who have pressurised him to tarnish the name of Chandy," Hassan said.

Ever since the arrest of Saritha Nair June 3, and the revelation, through her phone call details, that she had direct access to the Chief Minister's Office, Chandy has faced the ire of the opposition, which blames him of corrupt practices.

"As soon as the chief minister came to know of the involvement of his staff, he took action against three, of whom one is in jail. This is where the former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has failed -- his son was instrumental in seeing that even with 14 cases registered between 2006-11 (during the tenure of the Left government) against the con-couple, no action was taken," Hassan said, making a veiled allegation that Balakrishnan's son had links with the fraudsters.

Hassan also added that the Congress high command, state party and the ruling UDF alliance strongly backed Chandy because everyone knew of his unblemished track record in matters of integrity.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »