Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala was on Wednesday at the receiving end with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy facing the heat in the Solar scam with a prime accused alleging that bribes of over Rs two crore had been paid to him and a minister in his cabinet, even as the Opposition demanded the governor's intervention.
The development comes barely days after the resignation of Excise Minister K Babu hours after a vigilance court directed registering of an FIR against him in the bar bribery case.
The storm over the resignation, the second in the case after senior-most legislator and Finance Minister KM Mani was forced to quit in the same case, was yet to subside, when a fresh wave of embarrassment hit the Congress government, months before the assembly polls.
Kicking up a political storm this morning, Saritha, who appeared before the Justice Sivarajan Commission at Kochi, trained her guns against the CM and his senior cabinet colleague and Power minister, Aryadan Muhammed.
She alleged that Rs 1.90 crore had been given to Chandy's key aide to set up mega solar projects in Kerala and about Rs 40 lakh had been given to the personal assistant of Aryadan.
Both Chandy and Aryadan have denied the charges.
Chandy said it was "an attempt by Saritha to wriggle out" of the case after the scam broke out.
"Let her state what benefit she got after allegedly bribing us?", Chandy told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram after a cabinet meeting.
The cheques Saritha had handed over for relief fund had also bounced, he said.
"I have not helped her in any way. The Commission will come out with all the truth. Saritha was given a lot of opportunities to tell her version," Chandy, who had deposed before the commission for a marathon 14 hours in the state capital on 25 January, said.
Saritha alleged that Chandy's former PA Jikkumon, who had sought Rs seven crore bribe in connection with setting up mega solar projects in various parts of the state, had insisted that the money meant for Chandy be handed over to one Thomas Kuruvilla in Delhi, reportedly Chandy's unofficial aide.
On Wednesday, Nair said, "I gave Rs.1.10 crore to Thomas Kuruvilla in Delhi and another Rs.80 lakh in the state capital. I was arrested 15 days after giving the second instalment."
Saritha said she had met the CM on 27 December, 2012 at Vigyan Bhawan when he was about to leave for the airport after attending a meeting of National Development Council.
"I waited all this while expecting I will get back the money I gave, but now I feel it's time to open up," said Nair.
Aryadan said Saritha had come to see him and sought certain concessions for her firm, which were not given. CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the governor should intervene.
"The chief Minister and his government should step down. This is the first time in the state's history that such corruption allegations have been raised against a CM," he said.
"Now it is clear why Chandy refused to undertake a polygraph test," Kodiyeri told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
Chandy had asserted before the Commission that there was no need for him to undergo a lie-detector test as he has done "nothing wrong' and that the charges against him and his office were "politically motivated".
"What is the need for that (lie detector test)? I have not done anything wrong," he had said to a query during cross-examination.
The BJP also demanded the resignation of the UDF government and took out protest marches.
KPCC President VM Sudheeran backed Chandy and said this was the latest release in the series of canards and was timed with an eye to the upcoming assembly elections.
"Kerala will take this disclosure with a pinch of salt and none will pay heed to what has been alleged," said Sudheeran.
Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan were arrested in the solar scam in 2013.
While Nair is out on bail, Radhakrishnan is still in custody after it came to light that he murdered his first wife.
With inputs from PTI and IANS