Pinarayi settles scores with Chandy by handing over solar case to CBI

Pinarayi Vijayan, Oommen Chandy
Pinarayi Vijayan, Oommen Chandy

In its desperate bid to retain power, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has given the nod for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the infamous solar case in which a few of the state's Congress leaders, including former chief minister Oommen Chandy, is embroiled.

The state government apparently took the decision now with the forthcoming assembly elections in mind. Interestingly, the government decision came close on the heels of CPM state secretary A Vijayaraghavan stating that solar case would not be used for political gain.

UDF unperturbed

The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) on the other hand said that it was confident of countering the government decision by campaigning and terming it as a politically motivated move. The opposition alleged that the government got the complainant to request for a CBI probe.

The complainant, who is an accused in the Beverages Corporation and KTDC job frauds too, met the chief minister personally and handed over the letter requesting a CBI probe into the solar case.

Years ago

The then UDF government of Oommen Chandy had decided to hand over the Lavalin case involving current CM Pinarayi Vijayan to the CBI just ahead of the 2006 assembly polls. The decision had put Pinarayi Vijayan on the back foot politically, while the CPM faction of his rival VS Achutanandan took advantage of it. The Chandy-led government was voted out as the LDF secured a thumping win and Achutanandan became the CM.

The Lavalin case, which pertains to a financial scandal related to a hydroelectric project, is currently before the Supreme Court.

Case filer dusted up

After coming to power in 2016, the Pinarayi government had completely neglected the solar case which was used extensively by the LDF as a political weapon against the UDF during the campaign ahead of the last assembly elections. The solar case never became an issue during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, assembly by-elections or even in the recently concluded local body polls. There was not much progress in the crime branch probe into the case either.

The government had also refrained from making such a drastic move even in the wake of huge flak over the gold smuggling and Life Mission corruption scandals that erupted ahead of the local bodies poll late last year.

BJP's dilemma

The BJP is not in a position to back the demand for a CBI probe into the solar case as its newly elected national Vice President A P Abdullakutty is also an accused. Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K Mani's name was also there in the letter written by the complainant. Jose is with the LDF now. The Congress has alleged that Jose’s name was removed later.

However, when asked about the case on Sunday, the complainant told mediapersons that no one had been excluded from the complaint and the involvement of all persons would come out in the public domain during the probe.

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