Pandemonium in Kerala assembly forces adjournment

Thiruvananthapuram, June 20 (IANS) The Kerala assembly witnessed pandemonium Thursday when angry opposition leaders menacingly advanced towards the treasury benches after the state home minister criticised a statement by Leader of Opposition.

The opposition legislators became angry after Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan began his speech criticising a statement Wednesday of Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan that the minister should be slapped.

As soon as he began to speak, angry opposition legislators marched towards him and former speaker K. Radhakrishnan was seen pushing away his colleagues who had advanced quite close to the home minister.

Legislators from the treasury benches also moved towards the minister and soon Speaker G. Karthikeyan adjourned the house.

Thursday also the opposition seek leave for an adjournment motion on the now controversial Team Solar Company that has swindled more than Rs.5 crore from people.

Since last Tuesday the opposition has been raising the demand for a judicial probe and the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as it was alleged that a few staff of his helped the couple who functioned on behalf of the company and is now behind bars.

The arrested con-couple Saritha S. Nair and her former live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan were found to have been in close touch with Chandy's two suspended staff members.

The opposition also raised the allegations levelled by B.N.Haskar, counsel for now arrested Biju Radhakrishnan, that Chandy had given recommendations letters promoting the company Team Solar.

Chandy informed the house that it was only after his government took up the case, which was registered during the tenure of Achuthanandan, that the truth surfaced.

"You say that I have given recommendation letters, I would be glad if you can show it to me. I know that tomorrow you will say that those letters have now been taken away by the police. Why is that you create a smoke screen in everything? You are taking up issues which have been raised by the counsel, who is also an accused in a cheating case in 2010. You never did anything in the cases that surfaced during your time," said Chandy.

Angered by Chandy's reply, the opposition protest grew more intense, forcing the speaker to defer the listed business of the day and adjourn the house for the day.

Later, the entire opposition met Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar and told him about their demands.

"We have told him what we have been raising in the house for the past one week. He said he will get back to us. Meanwhile, we have decided to continue our protest till our demand is met," Achuthanandan told reporters near the official residence of the governor.

The assembly will now resume its sitting Monday.

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