Solar scam: Oommen Chandy announces judicial probe; LDF ends siege

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Thiruvananthapuram: With the UDF government announcing a judicial probe into the solar scam, the CPI-M led LDF Opposition which has been demanding resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, on Wednesday ended its siege to the secretariat, which saw thousands of protesters converging in the state capital since Tuesday.
In a conciliatory move, Chandy announced the decision to hold a judicial probe into the scam after consulting senior leaders of the Congress and its UDF allies on Wednesday.
Chandy said the service of a sitting High Court judge would be sought for the probe and its terms of reference would be worked out in consultation with LDF leaders.
Following this, LDF leaders met at CPI(M) state headquarters A K G Centre and decided to end the blockade as part of their demand was met by the government under opposition pressure.
CPI(M) state secretary Pinaryi Vijayan made a formal announcement of the end of the blockade before protesters in front the secretariat, but maintained that LDF would carry on with other forms of struggle for resignation of Chandy.
The SIT set up to probe the scam, pertaining to alleged cheating of huge sums by the accused Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair, has completed the investigation and the charge sheet is to be submitted before the court later this week.
The case assumed a serious political dimension with the arrest of a personal assistant in the Chief Minister's Office for his alleged links with the accused.
LDF had been alleging that such a huge scam would not have taken place without the collusion of the Chief Minister, a charge rejected by him.
The scam added futher embarrassment to the Chandy government with the arrest of television actress Shalu Menon and former Public Relations Department Director A Firoz in a related case.
Seizing on the issue, LDF has been conducting different forms of struggles across the state for the last two months.The issue also rocked the assembly in June, forcing the government to cut short the session after guillotining financial business.
Though the Government had brought in a few contingents of central paramilitary forces to deal with the secretariat siege of the LDF, the campaign went off peacefully.
LDF leaders claimed the state government's decision to declare a two-day holiday for the secretariat reflected the success of their stir and the massive popular support for the demands raised by the opposition.

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