Upcoming book on ‘inside story’ of Solar Scam triggers row in Kerala

Role Of ‘John’s’ Of Kerala Media In Settling The Massive Solar Scam Starts To Roll. — IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, May 17 (IANS) A book written by a former journalist has spilled the beans on the role he and another journalist played in settling a massive protest in 2013 called by the CPI-M against the then Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was caught in the Solar Scam.

However, on Friday, the CPI-M flatly denied any settlement.

In his yet-to-be-piblished book on the Solar Scam, John Mundakayam, former chief of bureau of Malayala Manorama — a top vernacular daily — claims that John Brittas, a former top employee of the CPI-M backed Kairali TV, who is presently the party’s Rajya Sabha member, called him and the subsequent discussions led to the calling off of the protest, a claim that Brittas has denied now.

On August 12, 2013, the CPI-M then led by present Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with thousands of Left workers from all across the state surrounded the state Secretariat, demanding Chandy to step down.

The solar scam case pertains to a live-in couple — Saritha and Radhakrishnan — who cheated numerous people by taking money without supplying promised solar panels. Chandy got into trouble after it was found that three of his staff members had links with Saritha.

Mundakayam, who was a close aide of late former Chief Minister Chandy, states in his book that on August 13, 2013, he got a call from Brittas asking if something can be done to end the protest.

“I asked him if they were ready and Brittas said the protest could come to a close if Chandy called a press briefing and announced a judicial probe into the matter. Soon I spoke to Chandy and he asked me to speak to P.K. Kunhalikutty (then state Industries Minister). Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan was also spoken to.

“The final round of talks took place when Left ally RSP leader N.K. Premachandran spoke to CPI-M veteran Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and the protest was called off after Chandy announced a judicial probe,” writes Mundakayam.

Radhakrishnan told the media that all that Mundakayam said was true.

But on Friday, Brittas flatly denied ever speaking to Mundakayam.

“I don’t know how Mundakayam can say this. In fact, I wish to ask, I am very surprised how he did not put out this news in Malayalam Manorama. He being a seasoned journalist, this should have been put out as news,” said Brittas.

“It was Radhakrishnan who spoke to him and he called me on the phone of Cherian Phillip (a Congress veteran who moved to the CPI-M and was with Kairali TV). Later, I went and met Radhakrishnan, as I was asked by my party. I then raised the demand for the judicial probe and it was accepted and that was how the protest was called off.

“I am really surprised how can Mundakayam say things that never took place. Look, we know most journalists after retiring come out with books to stay in the limelight,” added Brittas.

Phillip, who has since returned to the Congress, preferred to remain silent.

Meanwhile, CPI-M veteran M.V. Jayarajan, a close aide of CM Vijayan and who was at the forefront of the protest in 2013, dismissed Mundakayam’s revelation as “rubbish”.

“This is baseless and is meant to defame the CPI-M, which happens time and again,” said Jayarajan.

Responding to Brittas’ denial of speaking to him, Mundakayam said he understands the former’s position.

“Brittas has agreed that Radhakrishnan spoke and that’s the second part of what happened. I can understand the position of Brittas. My only intention was the protest should end. My book was written to portray that Chandy was named in a scam where he did not do any wrong,” Mundakayam told mediapersons from Singapore.

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