The Central Bureau of Investigation has taken over an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment against senior Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, and five others linked to the 2013 solar scam, PTI reported on Tuesday.
In the solar scam, two main accused, a man and a woman, allegedly duped investors of lakhs of rupees after promising to install solar panels for them. The two primary suspects were arrested in October 2013, and sentenced to three years in jail on December 16, 2016.
Chandy and other Congress leaders were later accused of demanding money and sexual favours as part of the scam.
In January, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government had recommended a CBI inquiry into the allegations of sexual abuse.
The central agency has now taken over six first information reports that were registered by the Kerala Police’s Crime Branch, according to PTI.
Apart from Chandy, former Union minister and senior Congress leader KC Venugopal, Congress MPs Hibi Eden and Adoor Prakash, MLA AP Anil Kumar, and BJP leader AP Abdulla Kutty have also been named as accused in the case.
In January, the Congress had described the Kerala government’s decision to recommend a CBI probe as “politically motivated”. The party said the government took the decision as it could not find anything against the Congress leaders.
“The Left has been in power in Kerala for five years and they have not been able to prove any allegations against us,” Chandy had said in January. “Now they are trying to ally with powers at the Centre.”
The first information report in the sexual harassment case was filed against Chandy in the court of the Thiruvananthapuram chief judicial magistrate in October 2018. It stated that Chandy had sexually assaulted the complainant in 2012, when he was the chief minister of Kerala.
The woman had accused Chandy of sexually assaulting her in exchange for promoting her business. The complainant has also accused Congress leader KC Venugopal of raping her in 2012.
The Justice Sivarajan Commission, in its report in 2017, found that senior politicians in the state had sought and received sexual favours from the complainant in exchange for promoting the woman’s business. The commission recommended that all those named by the complainant should be investigated.