Sexual misconduct case: LDF agrees to UDF’s adjournment motion to discuss ‘conspiracy to ensnare’ Oommen Chandy


Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy

Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
| Photo Credit: SUDERSHAN V

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) alliance seconded an adjournment motion moved by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) to discuss a purported Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court filing that allegedly pointed to a government-level conspiracy in 2021 to falsely implicate the late Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in a sexual misconduct case involving the prime suspect, a woman, in the 2016 solar investment fraud case.

Speaker A. N. Shamsheer ruled that the House would suspend scheduled business for two hours from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. to discuss the motion moved by Congress legislator Shafi Parambil.

The somewhat unexpected move by treasury benches came minutes after Mr. Shamsheer swore in Chandy Oommen, son and political heir of Chandy, as the legislator representing the Puthuppally Assembly constituency held for 53 years by the departed leader.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, replying to the Rule 50 notice moved by the UDF, said the previous LDF government had assented to the petitioner’s demand for a CBI inquiry.

He said no official document regarding the CBI’s alleged submission in court was available with the government.

Mr. Vijayan said the Opposition should not expect the government to make a statement based solely on media reports, guesswork and speculation.

He said the government was required to examine the supposed CBI filing and seek a legal opinion on its supposed submission before elucidating its stance.

Mr. Vijayan said the ruling alliance was willing to discuss the subject despite the disadvantage of the government not having the purported CBI report in hand.

The Congress, buoyed by its strong showing in the Puthuppally by-election, had sought to put the government in the dock by alleging the existence of a CBI filing that purportedly claimed that a few LDF had conspired to implicate Chandy in the case.

Congress claimed the report vindicated its winning by-election campaign theme that Chandy was the victim of a “political witch-hunt” initiated by the previous Pinarayi government in the run-up to the 2021 Assembly election.

An online media broke the existence of the CBI’s supposed court document. The purported legal record was yet to emerge in the public domain. Nevertheless, television news channels and Congress leaders echoed the CBI’s “conclusion” as a given.

The petitioner’s accusation was that a galaxy of Congress leaders extorted sexual favours from her to extend official patronage to her nascent solar power generation business venture when the Chandy government was in power in 2016.

The contentious decision of the previous LDF Cabinet to order a CBI enquiry into her accusations had plunged Chandy and a galaxy of other star Congress campaigners under a cloud of suspicion on the eve of the 2021 Assembly election. It also came as a political bombshell that caught the UDF Opposition unawares.

In 2023, the CBI absolved the leaders, including Chandy, of wrongdoing, citing the woman’s complaint had no factual basis or evidentiary backing.

Congress leaders have repeatedly alleged mischief in the controversial Cabinet decision in 2021. They said the government had plotted to wring political advantage in the 2021 Assembly poll by attempting to discredit Opposition leaders.

The brewing political controversy also dragged Kerala Congress (B) leader K. B. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, a personal aide of his, a well-connected and so far unnamed “political go-between” and the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) to its centre.

Congress insinuated that the “coterie” had coaxed the solar case suspect to file the “false complaint at the CMO’s behest”. Mr. Kumar’s aide has since denied the accusation.

LDF convener E. P. Jayarajan maintained the case owed its provenance to the findings of a judicial commission instituted by the Oommen Chandy government to probe the solar scam. He said it was wrong for the Congress to attribute any political motive to the legal processes that followed.


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