Court orders FIR against Kerala CM Oommen Chandy; Sonia Gandhi seeks report

chandyA vigilance special court in Kerala hearing the solar scam has ordered that a first information report (FIR) be lodged against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and another minister Aryadan Muhammad.

The direction came after an explosive revelation by Saritha Nair, accused in the scam, that she paid Rs 1.9 cr to persons to be passed on to the Chief Minister, and another Rs 40 lakhs to Aryadan Muhammad.

According to media reports, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has sought a report on the turn of events from the local party leadership.

The allegations and court proceedings have come at a particularly bad time for the party as state elections are scheduled for April.

Chandy and Muhammad are the third and fourth ministers to be forced to undergo criminal investigation on the courts’ directions.

Earlier, excise minister K Babu and finance minister KM Mani were forced to resign in another corruption case after the court ordered the vigilance department to conduct proper investigations into allegations of corruption.

While Mani and Babu are accused of taking money from bar and hotel owners for renewing their licenses or other administrative and policy decisions, the solar scam revolves around Sarita Nair, a flamboyant entrepreneur who claims to have dealt with many ministers and political leaders in advancing a solar equipment business.

The present order came in a vigilance case filed by a social worker named PD Joseph in Thrissur.

Joseph had based his petition on Saritha Nair’s statement to the media that she had paid bribes to these ministers.

“The law is the same for everyone, whether it is the PM or the CM,” the court said today.

Chandy, on his part, has denied the allegations by Nair and termed it a political conspiracy to dampen Congress Party’s clean image ahead of Kerala state elections.

Chandy has said that a bar owners’ association is behind the allegations. The Congress government had banned bars in the state, which has caused losses amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees to their owners.

Sarita also said that government leaders or their proxies have approached her trying to get her to tone down her allegations. Nair first made the allegations over a year ago, but revealed only certain aspects and promised to reveal more at a later stage.

She said she redacted a 30-page letter detailing her allegations against government leaders to 3 pages on the suggestions of government leaders.

The government is learnt to be readying a petition seeking a stay on the Vigilance court order.

CM TO RESIGN?

Opposition leader VS Achyuthanandan said the Chief Minister must resign from his position as other ministers against whom FIRs have been ordered by the court have stepped down.

Achyuthanandan said the allegations reminded him of an accomplished pickpocket who targets other pickpockets.

MLA RESIGNS

Adding to the government’s woes, Kovoor Kunjumon, an MLA from Kunnathur, resigned after making scathing allegations against the ruling United Democratic Front.

Kunjumon is part of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, which used to be in the Left Front, but joined the Congress-led front recently. He said he could no longer continue to support the UDF, and said he considers himself a Leftist.

He called on his party to rejoin the Left Alliance.

The LDF, meanwhile, is heavily favored to come back to power next year. It recently put up a strong showing in local body elections in Kerala.



Siddhu on joining Congress: No party is good or bad! Navjot Singh Siddhu, the cricketer turned politician and a vehement critic of the Indian National Congress for several years, justified his decision to join the party saying that no party, by itself, is good or bad."No party is good or bad. The same party can be run by bad people, the same party can be run by good people," he said.He said he was will...
Katju says SP will defeat BJP in UP Elections; Demonetization, Akhilesh to aid Former Supreme Court judge and a keen observer of Indian politics, Markandey Katju has predicted a win for the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.BJP, which is seen as a strong contender by many, would be negatively impacted due to the impact of demonetization and the clean image projected by SP chief m...
Supreme Court to consider banning charge-sheeted candidates from polls The Supreme Court has today agreed to hear a petition that seeks to ban anyone who has been charge-sheeted in a criminal case from contesting elections in India.BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among one of the most prolific filers of public interest litigation in India, is among those who had filed such petitions seeking disqualification of such ...
COLUMN: Why it’s hypocritical for Rahul Gandhi to accuse Narendra Modi of taking money from co... One of the interesting aspects of the current accusations and counter accusations around the alleged funding of BJP's 2014 Lok Sabha campaign by corporate houses is the sheer hypocrisy of it.Let's see why.According to third-party figures, an estimated Rs 23,000 cr was spent by candidates and political parties on the 2014 general election.Assu...
Mining baron Sekhar Reddy arrested after Income Tax raids Sand miner Shekar Reddy has been arrested, two weeks after the seizure of crores of rupees and gold in an income tax raid. The arrest has come hours after Income Tax officials conducted a raid on Tamil Nadu's top bureaucrat chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao at his home.It was speculated that Rao's home was raided on the basis of information obtained from...
Rahul Gandhi’s gives ‘earthquake evidence’ on Modi After keeping the nation waiting for 10 days, Rahul Gandhi today dropped his 'bomb' on Narendra Modi that he had promised would 'cause an earthquake'.Gandhi said a company based in Uttar Pradesh has written "that Modi has taken money from them multiple times over six months."Quoting income tax investigation reports, Gandhi said: "They have writt...
Demonetizaton: Govt places limits on last minute deposits The Reserve Bank of India said that any person who continues to hold old notes of 500 and 1000 rupees in bulk will get only one more chance to deposit them into bank accounts and will also have to provide an explanation for the delayed deposit."Tenders of SBNs in excess of ₹ 5000 into a bank account will be received for credit only once during the remain...
UPA-era procurement delays kept us back – BSNL CMD BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava blamed delays in procuring key equipment for the present backward condition of the state-owned telecom operator.The company, which was once profitable and dominated India's telecom sector, has run up huge losses in the last several years, while private telecom companies have reaped tens of thousands ...
BSNL JE 2016 recruitment frozen after complaints to DoT – CMD Shrivastava BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said the recruitment of Junior Engineers (JEs) into the telecom company has been frozen by the Department of Telecom on the basis of complaints."It is being held up by the Department of Telecom... due to complaints," Shrivastava said in response to questions by candidates who have qualified in the ex...
Petrol Pumps, Airlines Will Not Take Old Notes From Saturday | DEMONETIZATION Old notes will no longer be accepted at petrol pumps and airline ticket counters starting from Saturday, according to sources.So far, petrol pumps and airlines had been given an exemption from demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.However, in an effort to control the widespread 'whitening' of black money, the government is gearing up to plug...
BJP asks all MPs, MLAs to submit bank statement to party As part of the ongoing crackdown on tax evasion and illicit funds, the Bharatiya Janata Party has asked all its MPs and MLAs to submit the full details of their banking transactions from Nov 8 onwards.The central leadership of the party will examine the bank statements of these representatives to check for any illegal or suspicious cash transactions....
7 ILLOGICAL REASONS to oppose DEMONETIZATION The current demonetization move by the Narendra Modi government has seen a lot of accusations and counter-accusations being levelled by both the supporters and opponents of the move.While the government has tried to deal head on with the official accusations levelled by opposition political parties, a much more subtle misinformation campaign is going o...
DEMONETIZATION: How some earned lakhs standing in queues The government has banned over-the-counter exchange of old 500- and 1000-rupee notes due to suspected gaming of the system by those with black money. According to banking industry sources, the over-the-counter exchange system was being massively misused by hawala operators and others who had illegal funds to convert their old currency into new notes."The...
Rahul Gandhi seeks Parliamentary probe into ‘leak of information’ ahead of demonetizatio... Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi dismissed charges that the opposition was not speaking in one voice on demonetization and said the entire opposition is united in their demands.Asked whether the opposition parties wanted a roll-back, Gandhi said there were only two demands -- one that Modi should speak in Parliament, and the secondly that there shoul...
Fitch says demonetization gains may not last Fitch Ratings said the positive effects are unlikely to be strong and sufficiently enduring "to support credit profiles" and will impact GDP growth in the current quarter.Though the gains will be substantial in the short-term, they may not last as people may still go back to their old ways after a while.It said the move has the potential to raise...