Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was on Saturday acquitted by a Bengaluru court for lack of evidence that he took money from an industrialist to help him set up a solar panel firm, PTI reported.
The Additional City Civil and Sessions Court also cancelled an earlier order it had passed in October by which the Congress leader was asked to pay Rs 1.61 crore to the industrialist MK Kuruvilla. Chandy had appealed that the order was ex-parte and the court had heard only the prosecution.
“Even in the plaint that Kuruvilla had filed does not mention about Rs 1.61 crore changing hands between him and Chandy, and therefore, taking this premise into cognisance this honourable court acquits Chandy in the case,” Judge Patil Mohankumar Bheemanagouda said in the Saturday order.
The court will continue proceedings against the other five accused, who have allegedly not paid the money to Kuruvilla yet.
What is the solar panel scam case?
Kuruvilla had in 2015 filed a petition seeking to recover Rs 1.61 crore that he was made to pay as a bribe to a company run by Chandy’s cousin to set up a franchise. Chandy’s cousin Andrews is the first accused in the case. The franchise, however, did not materialise.
In October, the court had asked six respondents, including Chandy and the firm, to return a total of Rs 1,60,85,700 to Kuruvilla, which includes 12% interest per annum.
Two main accused in the scam, Biju Radhakrishnan and his partner Saritha Nair, had allegedly duped investors of lakhs of rupees after promising to install solar panels for them. However, once they received the money, they would disappear. They were arrested in October 2013 and sentenced to three years in jail on December 16, 2016.
Chandy and other Congress ministers were accused of taking large amounts of money and sexual favours as part of the scam. In his defence, Chandy had claimed that the liquor lobby had started this as a conspiracy against him after the state decided to close down bars in Kerala.