The Left Democratic Front government in Kerala has decided to recommend a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse against former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and five others linked to the 2013 solar scam, reported NDTV.

The opposition Congress has called the move, which comes ahead of the Assembly elections, “politically motivated”. The party said the government took the decision as it could not find anything against the Congress leaders.

Chandy said that he was ready for any investigation. “The Left has been in power in Kerala for five years and they have not been able to prove any allegation against us,” he said. “Now they are trying to ally with powers at the Centre. We are not against any probe. You may remember about how during a bye-election the state government said based on solar commission report, they will take action. Where are those actions?”

The former Kerala chief minister also asked why the state government has not taken any actions against him despite the case being registered under a non-bailable section. “And now they are giving it over to CBI?” asked Chandy. “Kerala Chief Minister [Pinarayi Vijayan] will have to respond to this. People are watching everything.”

Senior Congress leader KC Joseph said that at least three police officials had conducted inquiries into the case but found no evidence, reported the Hindustan Times. “Almost five years the government sat over the case and explored many ways to make it alive,” Joseph said. “Neck-deep in corruption, gold smuggling and drug trafficking charges it dusted out an old case as a face-saver.”

The Youth Congress workers also took out a march to the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram and burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Besides the Congress, Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader V Muraleedharan also protested against the decision, saying that it was taken because of the upcoming elections.

The LDF government, however, has justified the decision. “It is a natural process,” state Law Minister AK Balan said. “The government ordered the central agency probe after the woman in question approached it.” The complainant, who is the prime accused in the solar scam, had petitioned Vijayan last week complaining that she was yet to get justice in sexual assault cases and demanded a central agency probe.

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 sexually assaulted the complainant in 2012, when he was the Kerala chief minister, in exchange for promoting her business. The complainant has also accused Congress leader KC Venugopal of raping her in 2012. Other accused in the case are Congress leaders Hibi Eden, Adoor Prakash and MLA AP Anil Kumar, and BJP leader AP Abdulla Kutty.

The complainant and the other accused in the solar scam had allegedly duped several investors of crores of rupees by offering to set up solar panel units for them.