Solar defamation case: Achuthanandan to challenge verdict in favour of Chandy

VS Achuthanandan.
VS Achuthanandan.

Former Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan will file an appeal challenging a lower court's verdict against him in a defamation case filed by his successor Oommen Chandy.

Achuthanandan's office, in a Facebook post, said the Principal Sub-Court-I in Thiruvananthapuram pronounced its verdict without considering facts in the case.

The court on Monday asked Achuthanandan to pay Rs 10.10 lakh to Chandy as defamation charges for making some remarks in connection with the sensational solar scam.

"From previous legal battles, it is evident that one may not get justice from lower courts always. It is only Chandy's personal feeling that he felt the remarks made about the solar case as defaming. Even though Chandy himself had moved the high court challenging the solar commission report based on which the remarks were made, the court had quashed his plea.

The lower court should have analysed the evidence legally and factually instead of approaching the case emotionally," the Facebook post read.

Chandy on Wednesday said the damages from the defamation case, once paid, will not be used for personal needs. “I will spend it for some social cause,” he said.

Chandy had filed a defamation case against Achuthanandan in 2014 for alleging, in a 2013 television interview, that Chandy was involved in the Solar scam. Achuthanandan was also asked to pay an interest of 6% for the amount, with retrospective effect from 2014. The order was issued by principal sub-judge Shibu Daniel.

Achuthanandan, who was then opposition leader, had said that a company was set up under Chandy's behest to swindle money in the name of solar power. It was also alleged that Chandy had accepted a bribe from the solar scam accused Saritha S Nair.

Chandy had testified before the Court on September 24, 2019. He had said that Achuthanandan's wild allegations were not backed by evidence and were instrumental in creating a wrong public impression about him.

Chandy also argued that if there was even a shred of evidence, the LDF government would have proceeded against him after it came to power. However, more than a year later, on January 25, 2021, and with the Assembly election near, the Pinarayi Vijayan government had given its nod for handing over the Solar case to the CBI.

In 2019, Achuthanandan could not appear before the Court hearing the defamation case because of ill health. But three of the witnesses he had lined up were cross-examined on October 11, 2019. The then special secretary (Home) was one of the witnesses.

During the cross-examination, the special secretary had to admit in the court that there was nothing in any of the documents that supported Achuthanandan's claims against Chandy.

The solar scam accused, Saritha, had hurled serious allegations against Chandy. She had said that a bribe of Rs 1.80 crore was handed over to a member of the Chief Minister's office in 2012. This she said was a portion of the Rs 7 crore bribe that Chandy's personal assistant, Jikkumon Jacob, had demanded of her.

Chandy had then rubbished these arguments. He said that even the Rs 2 lakh she contributed to the CM's Distress Relief Fund had bounced. "How can such a person claim to have paid crores," Chandy had said.

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