People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 35

September 01,2013

Momentous Secretariat Siege and After

K K Ragesh

IN a last ditch attempt to escape from the arm of the law -- after the announcement of a judicial probe into the ‘solar scam’ -- Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy stated that his office would not come under the purview of the judicial probe. The chief minister, amidst a flood of evidence that vividly indicate the involvement of the CM’s office in the scam, ridiculously repeats the rhetoric that no evidence has been found so far to link the CM and his office to the solar scam. It is to be noted that this stance of the CM on the probe came in the same press conference where he repeated his claim that the ‘government was ready for any kind of probe’. If the CM and his office has nothing to hide and was ready for any kind of probe’, then why is the CM repeatedly arguing to avert his office from the purview of the judicial probe? Despite the fact that the chief minister had stated in the same press conference that the government has decided to discuss the terms of reference of the probe with the opposition LDF, then why was the CM so keen to declare unilaterally that his office need not be included in the probe?


Contrary to the phoney argument of the chief minister Oommen Chandy, quite a lot of competent evidence to establish the involvement of the CM’s office in the scam has already been revealed. It is become known clearly that Saritha Nair maintained close relations with the CM’s office and has used her acquaintance with the CM and his office to entrap her customers in the solar scam. As Oommen Chandy does not carry a cell phone of his own, he always make use of the mobile phones of his personal staff members. How can one simply swallow the arguments of the CM that the hundreds of incoming and outgoing calls by Saritha Nair in the mobile phones of his staff members are made not for talking to the CM? Soon after the exposing of the call details, Tenny Joppen, the CM’s additional private secretary who used to accompany Oommen Chandy like a shadow, was arrested. One of the chief minister’s security staff, Salim Raj, was suspended from service and another personal staff member Jikku Jacob was also removed from the CM’s office. Thomas Kuruvila, an unofficial secretary of the CM at New Delhi, also confessed that he had close relations with Saritha Nair and the exposed phone call details establishes the same. It is to be noted that the phone call details related with Saritha Nair are made in the same numbers of his personal staff which always used to contact the CM. Amidst such irrefutable facts, how can one simply believe that all such calls are made just to contact his staff members and not to contact the CM?

Substantial and corroborative evidence that has been disclosed subsequently, vividly establish the CM’s direct involvement in aiding the scam. The solar scam victim Sreedharan Nair stated before the Ranni First class Magistrate court, under Sec 164 of the CrPC, that he met the CM along with Saritha Nair in the CM office on July 9, 2012 and trusting the chief minister’s word he had paid the balance amount to the culprits. Sreedharan Nair also said that while he arrived at the CM’s office, Selvaraj, MLA, was talking to the CM. Selvaraj later confirmed that he had met Saritha Nair along with solar panel fraud victim Sreedharan Nair waiting near the office of the chief minister. Sreedharan Nair’s statement that Saritha Nair handed over a cheque worth Rs 2 lakh to the CM’s Relief Fund was also later confirmed from the statement of accounts of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. All these corroborative pieces of evidence strongly reject the CM’s argument that he had met Sreedharan Nair as part of a delegation of Quarry owners. This evidence compelled the CM to shift his earlier position that he had never met Sreedharan Nair.

Another victim of the scam T C Mathew, who was cheated of Rs 1.04 crore, had also revealed that after he sought the intervention of the chief minister for getting back the money which he handed over to Saritha Nair for setting up a windmill in Tamilnadu. A day after he complained to the CM, Saritha Nair had threatened him with dire consequences. He further stated that even after giving written complaints to the CM and ADGP, no action was taken so far. The CM admitted that he got the complaint and explained that the complaint was referred to the ADGP. Even though T C Mathew met the CM and complained to him, two months before submitting the written complaint, that Saritha Nair had cheated him of Rs 1.04 crore and the CM’s staff members were also involved in the scam, the CM was sitting idle on such a serious allegation. It is strange and dubious that no action was taken even after a month of submitting the written complaint and hence T C Mathew had to move the court for redressal. It is further mischievous that Saritha Nair came to know about the complaint lodged before the CM. Can one be blamed for believing that the CM himself had informed about the complaint to the culprit?


If the CM has nothing to hide, as he claims, why did he then try to maintain that he had never seen Saritha Nair? His unofficial secretary at New Delhi, Thomas Kuruvila, had told the media that the CM had met Saritha Nair during the NDC meeting at Vigyan Bhavan on December 27, 2012. The CM tried to deny it by arguing that he had attended the NDC meet on December 29th and not on December 27th, which was ridiculously exposed later with solid documentary evidence. How could Saritha manage to enter into the Vigyan Bhavan, a high security area, without the CM’s help?

The CM had to agree that he met Biju Radhakrishnan, a co-accused in the scam, at Kochi Guest House and explained that they had only talked about family affairs of Biju Radhakrishnan. When such family affairs are related with Saritha Nair, his second wife, how can the CM simply deny that he did not know her? And what sacramental confession did Biju Radhakrishnan, an accused in the murder of his first wife, make before the CM which he has so far kept hidden from the public? How can the CM question the credibility of Sreedharan Nair, a Congressman who has nothing to do with any of the opposition parties? Why is the ‘transparent’ CM so scared to make public the CCTV recordings? He is ridiculously repeating lame excuse that the CCTV recordings have been erased. Why is the government machinery being misused to avert the confidential statement of Saritha Nair made before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court? How did the 21-page statement, which she handed over to her advocate, became a statement of just 3 pages? What was the interest of the government in filing an appeal in the High Court division bench challenging the single judge order against Salim Raj, the suspended gunman of the CM? What made the government to ensure the appearance of the Advocate General to prevent the single Judge order to confiscate Salim Raj’s phone call records? And finally Kairali-People TV broadcast the photograph of Saritha Nair whispering into the ears of the CM. All these substantial and circumstantial pieces of evidence unequivocally point the finger towards the chief minister Oommen Chandy and his office.

A judicial probe is not actually required to investigate into the affairs of Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan. But since the CM and his office are directly involved and all evidence point the finger towards them, the demand for a judicial probe has become relevant in this case. Declaring a judicial probe in the solar scam impliedly includes the CM and his office under the ambit of the probe. The CM now claims that he had made it clear earlier itself that the government had an open mind to institute any kind of investigation after the completion of the investigation of the Special Investigation Team. But the Special Investigation Team created for investigating this issue could not go ahead in its work especially into the complaints linked to the CM and his office. Whatever chargesheets that the SIT submitted to the court were not at all on the complaints linked with the CM’s office. However, the UDF government was compelled to declare a judicial probe in the solar scam succumbing to the mounted pressure from the unparalleled agitation of indefinite Secretariat siege organised by the CPI(M)-led LDF.

After the declaration of the judicial probe, the LDF withdrew the Secretariat siege and decided to spearhead agitation throughout the state to demand the CM’s resignation. The demand for a judicial probe and CM’s resignation are correlated. When the probe is declared against the CM and his office in connection with the solar scam, the CM will be compelled to resign as the precedents show. Moreover, the LDF can demand the resignation of a CM who faces the judicial probe more firmly. The days to come will certainly show the kind of militant movement that the LDF will unleash, which will inevitably lead to the resignation of the corrupt chief minister.