Thiruvananthapuram : The controversy over the solar scam rocking Kerala has snowballed, with the high court vigilance registrar pointing out an attempt by the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) to suppress the accused, Saritha S Nair’s secret statement that she was raped by many persons.
The registrar, who conducted a probe into alleged lapses on the part of the magistrate in recording the statement of the accused, said in his report submitted to the high court that Magistrate N V Raju had revealed that Saritha had mentioned the rape in the in-camera statement she gave to him on July 20 this year.
However, it did not figure in the written statement she gave subsequently on the direction of the magistrate. The registrar has identified the failure of the magistrate to record the in-camera statement as a serious lapse on his part.
The registrar has also pointed several other lapses on the part of the magistrate in dealing with Saritha’s request for an opportunity to reveal matters she had not confided to the police. Based on the report, the high court has issued a show cause notice to the ACJM, seeking an explanation from him within 15 days as to why he did not record the statement.
The probe was ordered on two complaints filed by Advocate A Jayashankar of the Kerala unit of the Indian Association of Lawyers and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary, K Surendran, seeking disciplinary action against the magistrate.
Surendran has alleged external pressure on the magistrate behind the alleged suppression of the charge. He told reporters that a judicial academy official, who had earlier worked as a junior under the State Advocate General, had influenced the magistrate.
He said that the academy official was also close to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who is accused by the opposition of abetting the scam involving duping of several people by Saritha and her partner Biju Radhakrishnan by promising solar power solutions. The BJP leader said he would reveal the name of the advocate if the high court ordered a suo moto inquiry.
The Opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said Saritha’s statement was torpedoed under the influence of the ruling front leaders. He alleged that millions of rupees were given to Saritha for not raising the names of higher-ups in the statement she gave to the court.
Balakrishnan said that this money was now being used by Saritha to settle the cases pending in the courts. He said that the opposition will not recognise the judicial inquiry being conducted by a sitting a judge and they would go ahead with their agitation for the resignation of the Chief Minister.