Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram: Suspended senior Kerala bureaucrat T.O. Sooraj on Saturday expressed his desire to undergo a lie detector test to prove his innocence in the land grab case for which he was questioned by the CBI on Friday. “I am not at all worried about the health issues involved in taking the lie detector test. I want to prove my innocence and hence I will take it,” said Sooraj to the media. In the past, he had expressed his unwillingness to undergo the lie detector test.
Sooraj, suspended last year for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation for the second time on Friday, for over five hours, in the case. The CBI arrested nine people in connection with the case, including Salim Raj, the former security staff of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, on Wednesday.
The arrested people allegedly tried to take over about 45 acres of land in the capital, and around 1.16 acres in Kochi. The total value of the land is around Rs.400 crore. Sooraj was asked to appear before the CBI as he was the land revenue commissioner when the land was allegedly grabbed by a group comprising real estate brokers and revenue officials using forged documents.
Three revenue officials were among those arrested and CBI sources said that more arrests would take place shortly. The CBI decided to take up the case in March last year following a private complaint and after the state government requested it to do so.
Kerala Police constable Salim Raj was Chandy’s gunman but was removed from his job in 2013 after it was alleged that he had close contacts with Saritha Nair, one of the key accused in the solar scam. Raj’s wife, who works in the revenue department, is one of the 27 accused in the land grab case. This issue is all set to reverberate in the Kerala assembly when it meets on Monday.