Kerala High Court dismisses plea seeking speedy probe against Oommen Chandy in sexual assault case

Kochi: The Kerala High Court Monday dismissed in limine a plea seeking expeditious probe against senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy in connection with a sexual assault case. Dismissing the plea filed by the victim, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that the petitioner’s apprehension was premature. The court also observed that the complaint was preferred after seven years of the alleged incident.

Earlier, a single bench had dismissed her plea. Last year, police had registered a case against former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy on complaints of sexual exploitation and rape lodged by a prime accused in the ‘solar scam’. Chandy had claimed that the cases were “politically motivated” and suggested an effort by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to deflect people’s attention from the Sabarimala temple controversy. The woman had accused Chandy of sexually exploiting her at Cliff House, the official residence of the chief minister, in 2012.

The woman and her co-accused had allegedly duped several investors of crores of rupees by offering to set up solar panel units for them. The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government of the day had formed a commission to probe the charges. The commission’s report, tabled in the Assembly on November 9, 2017, stated that Chandy and four of his personal staff members had “assisted” the woman and her company in cheating customers.

The report contained details of a letter written by the woman on July 19, 2013 to the then police commissioner. In the letter, she had levelled charges of sexual misconduct and corruption against several Congress and UDF leaders, including Chandy, some of his ministers and two former Union ministers. The court had in May expunged the letter’s contents from the commission report after Chandy sought quashing of the panel’s findings against him. ‘In limine’ is a Latin term that means at the beginning or on the threshold.

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