Solar scam accused says bribes paid to Kerala CM gone in vain

The 14-hour deposition of Kerala chief minister Oomman Chandy before the Solar Commission looking into Kerala's solar scam, involving a couple Sarita Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, the chief minister's office and several ministers as well as MLAs and MPs from the state, blew up in the CM's face with the accused Sarita S Nair making startling revelations before the Solar Commission that she had bribed the CM during the course of the scam.

In her statement before the commission, Saritha has tried to implicate Kerala CM Oommen Chandy and many other politicians for accepting bribe. She also stated that the deputy speaker of the state assembly Palod Ravi had also asked her to make statements in such a way as to validate the chief minister's statements before the Solar Commission.

Saritha's statements come after Chandy appeared before the judicial commission on Wednesday during which he denied all allegations of his involvement in the Solar Scam.

Now, after Sarita's revelations that he accepted money from the accused for favours, Chandy says no one will believe the bribery allegations raised against him by the accused Saritha Nair. "Even the cheque given by Saritha to the relief fund had bounced. How can she then give me crores of money? Will anyone believe all this?" he questioned. "What has Saritha gained by giving me bribe," Chandy asked, adding that he has not done any undue favours for her.

The chief minister's stand has all along been that the state has not suffered any material loss in the scam that involved private individuals and some officials, including those from his office who have since been removed.

Sarita has alleged that on 26 December 2012 evening, Rs1.8 crore was handed over to one Thomas Kuruvilla, a staff member of the CM's office. Saritha also told the judicial commission that the chief minister had wanted to speak to her and she was made to call him on a personal landline.

Kuruvilla, who is based out of New Delhi, also denied Saritha's allegations.
 
According to Saritha, a bribe of Rs40 lakh was also given to power minister Aryadan Muhammed's PA Keshavan at the minister's residence in two installments. Saritha claims that the minister's staff had asked for Rs2 crore.

She said Oommen Chandy's PA Jikkumon Jacob had demanded Rs7 crore as bribe of which Rs1 crore and 80 lakh was handed over to Kuruvilla.

The chief minister has denied Saritha's allegation that she had spoken to him. He also denied receiving any bribe from the accused. ''A cheque of Rs2 lakh that she gave for CM's relief fund itself bounced, I don't know how she claims to have crores with her. Let me repeat what I told the Solar Commission, she has not benefited a paisa from the government.''

The chief minister, however, refused to undergo a lie-detection test as he feels no need after 14-houras of grilling by the state vigilance officials.

"What is the need for that? I have not done anything wrong. The duo allegedly canvassed business by using high-level names, including that of Chandy. While Saritha was granted bail after being behind bars for about nine months, Radhakrishnan is still in jail in connection with the murder of his wife.