CBI Begins Probe on Sexual Assault Allegations Against Oommen Chandy and Others
The left government in Kerala in January 2021 had sought a CBI probe in the matter.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started a fresh probe against former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, senior Congress leader KC Venugopal, and six other Congress leaders in a sexual assault case in connection with the solar scam.
This after the Kerala government led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) sought a CBI probe in the matter in January 2021. The corruption scandal that broke out during the United Democratic Front regime had resulted in a woman (second accused) and her partner Biju Radhakrishnan (prime accused) being sentenced by a Kozhikode court in April 2021.
The trial court had held that the woman and her accomplice had swindled many people of crores of rupees promising to install solar panels and offering franchise and jobs in their company, Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Company.
It was in connection with this case that multiple allegations of sexual assault by the then chief minister Chandy, other ministers of his government and important party functionaries had surfaced.
As a result of this, Chandy had also reportedly offered to resign. A judicial probe was ordered by the government after wide-scale protests by the Opposition.
The allegations had first surfaced in 2013 when the woman on 19 August wrote a letter from jail in which she accused leaders, including Chandy, then transport minister Aryadan Mohammed, KC Venugopal and other Congress leaders like Hibi Eden, Adoor Prakash, among others, of sexually harassing her. In subsequent allegations, Chandy was accused of taking bribes from her and her partner in addition to demanding sexual favours from her.
After scrutinising the phone calls of Chandy's staff, the Justice G Sivarajan Commission set up to probe the solar scam, deduced that Chandy knew the woman well.
"Illegal gratification contemplated under the PC [Prevention of Corruption] Act need not be confined to money or any other property. Giving sexual satisfaction, according to Commission is also one coming under gratification, Section (a) & (b) of the PC Act," the commission had said in its 1,073 page report, which was tabled in the Assembly.
“The Commission has already found that the Chief Minister Sri. Oommen Chandy and through him his personal staff Tenny Joppan, Jikkumon Jacob, gunman Salimraj and his aid at Delhi, all had assisted Team Solar accused Saritha S Nair and her company in enabling them to cheat their customers,” the report noted on pages 845-849 of Volume III.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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