Won't quit, says Oomen Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram, July 9 (IANS) We will "not bend our knees before a political conspiracy", said a combative Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy Tuesday as the opposition mounted pressure on him to quit over a scam.

The opposition has demanded Chandy's resignation and that he face a judicial probe after Sreedharan Nair, a businessman, Monday told TV channels he had met Chandy at his office here along with the now arrested Saritha S. Nair July 9 last year, in what is being described as 'solar scam'.

Angry supporters of the Left opposition clashed with the police here, demanding the resignation of Chandy.

"Today is the 10th day in succession that you have stalled the proceedings of the assembly on the very same solar scam issue. I will say the same thing that I said on the previous nine occasions. I don't need the privilege of a chief minister or even that of a legislator, all I ask you is please give me the rights of an ordinary citizen," Chandy said.

"We will not bend our knees before a political conspiracy," said Chandy amidst a thunderous applause from the treasury benches.

The chief minister refuted the claims made by Sreedharan Nair on their meeting at the former's office.

"As I said yesterday (Monday), again I am saying on two occasions Sreedharan Nair had met me, and on both the occasions Saritha S. Nair was not present. He came along with other members of a Quarry Association to give me representations," said Chandy.

Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan had launched a firm called Team Solar that collected large sums of money on the promise of delivering solar panels.

The couple was arrested last month after several complaints were received from people who had given Team Solar money but got nothing in return.

Sreedharan Nair Monday said he paid Rs.40 lakh in three instalments to Saritha Nair to erect a solar panel factory at Palakkad after being convinced that the project was viable after he met Chandy along with Saritha Nair.

State Finance Minister K.M. Mani informed the house, tendering documentary evidence, that the agreement between Team Solar and the businessman was effected June 25, 2012, and Rs.4 million was paid to the Team Solar firm by Sreedharan Nair.

"I speak from the agreement between the two parties. Please, there has been no relation that the chief minister has and there are no bonafides," said Mani.

Chandy told the opposition to desist from spreading canards that there is a rift between Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and himself.

"Please remember, we are a cabinet that has collective responsibility and the United Democratic Front alliance is rock solid," said Chandy.

"You (opposition) can do anything to score political brownie points over me, but please don't forget to ask your conscience if what you are doing is right," said Chandy.

He also pointed out that Sreedharan Nair ever since the scam broke out has been changing his statements by the day.

As in the previous days, the Left opposition members trooped into the well of the house forcing the speaker to adjourn the house for a while.

On resumption, with the situation continuing to be the same, he went through the listed business of the house and adjourned the house sine die.

The assembly was to have ended its session on July 18.

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