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SOLAR PANEL SCAM


HISTORY OF THE SCAM
The popular Kerala Solar panel scam which took place in 2013 is another black mark to India. The Kerala solar panel scam was about swindling of a huge amount of money by an illicit solar energy company named Team Solar located in the state of Kerala in India. This scandal involved mainly two women who very conveniently established contacts and created a good rapport with the political people. They even created links in the Chief Ministers office of the state and even misled several people who were in highly powerful and authoritative position to the frequency of nearly 70 million rupees. They tricked in such a way that they came forward to make them business partners, or by offering to install solar power units for them. They not only promised business but also received advance payments for the same.


THE TEAM SOLAR ENERGY COMPANY
The team Solar Energy Company was run by Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair who were the Chief Directors of the company and are also the main accused of the Solar panel scam. Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair using their network collected a huge amount of money from many people and investors as advance. The investors were also given the option of becoming business partners. They typically concealed the true nature of them and promised the people to install alternate sources of energy but ultimately did not respond properly in delivering the goods. In order to gain popularity for the Team Solar Company among the people, Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair the main directors of the company, awarded a "Virgin Earth Golden Feather Environment Award" to several prominent people of Kerala so as to gain media coverage and for the quality of being trusted and believed in. The first information about the scam of the Kerala Solar panel came into light only after a customer who had paid for the installation filed a case against the Team Solar Company.

THE SCAM
After the incident of the Kerala Solar Panel scam was brought into light and was exposed to the public by the different Media, there were protests against this scam all over the state by various political parties and organizations of the state. Especially the Leftist youth groups of the state of Kerala went into a widespread protests across different parts of Kerala, after an interview with an industrialist was aired on television, which alleged fraud by the company. The Kerala Solar Panel scam drew much attention from the public and from the different political parties because it involved some of the top people in politics and bureaucrats who were all very influential, the women by all accounts involved fuelled the imagination/ jealousy of the morally corrupt Malayalam Media and the alleged involvement of three officials from the office of the Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy, who made several phone calls to Nair, the director of the Team Solar Renewable Energy Company. The scam of the Kerala Solar panel put the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of the state to a great pressure and also pressure from all sides.

SCANDAL CAUSES A MAJOR ENTANGLEMENT AND EMBARRASSMENT
SOLARPANEL SCAM
This scandal caused a major entanglement and embarrassment to Oommen Chandy. He was a facing a great pressure from the opposite party and from the Media for his resignation along with two other officials involved in phone conversation that lost their positions. There were lot of complaints filed against the Kerala Solar panel scam and the amount involved in the scandal was calculated to be less than INR100 million (US$1.7 million) but however the forceful confront by the Leftist political parties and the modus operandi used by the company had made the scam ill repute, with a bad reputation. There were nearly five people who were arrested based on the various complaints lodged on them who had a major involvement in the Solar Panel scam. However the main accused of the Kerala Solar Panel scandal was Saritha Nair, the director of the Team Solar Renewable Energy Company and one of the Chief Minister's personal aides Tenny Joppan.

PEOPLE INVOLVED
SOLARPANEL- KERALA
The other main accused of the Kerala Solar Panel scam who were already arrested are Biju Radhakrishnan, and Malayalam movie/TV actress and danseuse, Shalu Menon. Biju RadhaKrishnan had already a case filed against him regarding the murder of his wife Rashmi but still there was no serious action against him nor was he arrested. But however later when he was arrested by the Kollam Crime Branch CID, in Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu he clearly confessed to the police that he murdered his wife Rashmi by giving her poisoned liquor. The next major accused in the Scandal of the Solar Panel was Saritha Nair who was the director of the Team Solar Renewable Energy Co. and another partner in crime with Biju Radhakrishnan. Arrest warrant was issued based on the complaint given by one of the person who was cheated by Saritha Nair in Ambalapuzha.

INVESTIGATION
Saritha Nair also gave a secret statement in the jury of Economic Offences where her case was heard. She revealed that her secret statements would help the investigation team of the Solar Panel scandal to further broaden scope of their search in various outlooks. Her attorney, Fenny Balakrishnan termed that her statements would be surprising and previously unknown fact which will be disclosed and will be very crucial and capable of changing the direction of the investigation. However in February, 2014 Saritha Nair was granted bail by the court of Economic Offence and was released from her arrest. Shalu Menon a popular Television and film actress was also another accused in the case of Solar Panel scam. Shalu Menon was a very close associate of Biju Radhakrishnan. Though she initially did not confess the fact of her association with Biju Radhakrishnan later she had accepted for there were evidences of both Shalu Menon and Biju Radhakrishnan posing for photographs together and also Biju handing over the key of her newly purchased car.

THE SCAM IN LIMELIGHT IN VARIOUS MEDIA
At the time when the scam was in limelight in various media, the Television media published the pictures taken by both of them. So once this was out in the public she became one of the main targets of the police and was inspected closely and scrutinized. Finally after all the investigation it was proved that she was also an accomplice to the scam and had used her popularity to tempt the customers into parting with their money. After all this Shalu Menon was released on bail in August 2013. Tenny Joppan, an assistant and personal staff member of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was arrested on charges of cheating, for helping Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair in the case of the Solar panel scam for illegally obtaining money from a businessman, Sreedharan Nair, by deception to the tune of 40 Lakh Indian Rupees. On August 2013, Tenny Joppan was released on bail. Another government official who falls under the list of accused in the Solar Panel scam is A. Firoz, who admitted himself on 18 July, 2013 after the court rejected his plea for anticipatory bail. He was accused of helping to dupe a builder of 4 million Rupees along with Biju and Saritha, by claiming one of them was an ADB official and they could arrange a contract with ADB.

THE CHIEF MINISTER OOMMEN CHANDY IN HIS CONCERNED OFFICE
Firoz was suspended from service after his name was leaked out in the scandal as he played a hand in gloves game with Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair as their partner. Thus it is very clear that a woman has roped in phone calls from at least four Kerala Cabinet ministers, three MLAs and hordes of government officials besides a junior Central Minister. As already explained the issue got heated up only after Sridharan Nair, a quarry owner in his statements disclosed that he along with the main accused Saritha Nair met the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in his concerned office, during which the Chief Minister encouraged investments in renewable energy. This was further blown by the opposition LDF and they were demanding for the resignation of Oomman Chandy from the proceedings of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and also from the position of Chief Minister. But however Oomman Chandy disproved the allegations aganist him stating that the only time he met Sridharan Nair was when he represented the quarry owners in a meeting. The Left Democratic Front in Kerala had demanded a judicial investigation in the scam, which was later allowed by the government which led to the conclusion of the siege.

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