Left stages sit-in, demanding Chandy's exit

Thiruvananthapuram, July 22 (IANS) The opposition Left Front in Kerala staged a sit-in here Monday against the Congress-led government over the solar panel scam and demanded that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should go.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left opposition leaders began a 24-hour sit-in in front of the state secretariat Monday morning.

"Chandy must go, and there is none who believes that he is innocent and hence he has to quit," said CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

Those taking part in the protest included legislators and party leaders of the Left Democratic Front alliance.

Chandy has been facing the opposition ire over solar panel-linked scam allegedly involving a woman and her associate, and the Left opposition has called for his resignation, and pressed for a judicial probe.

The Kerala government has ordered a probe into the dealings of suspect Saritha S. Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan, who are currently under arrest for having defrauded many investors on the promise of providing solar panels at subsidised rates.

The telephone call records of Saritha Nair showed that she had been in regular and frequent touch with members of the chief minister's personal staff.

While one member of the chief minister's staff has been arrested in this connection, two others have been sacked.

The Kerala High Court Monday denied bail to Teny Jopan, (formerly working for Chandy) after the court examined the police case diary.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said the "prime share holder" in the scam was none other than Chandy.

"Chandy is trying to prevent all the protests as he does not want the truth to come out, but it will soon emerge," said Achuthanandan.

The chief minister has denied any wrong-doing and has asked the Left opposition to be patient till the end of the police probe, and that if need be any other probe could also be considered.

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