The Kerala Crime Branch (CB) has booked three Congress legislators, likely to be named as Lok Sabha candidates, who are accused of sexually exploiting, solar energy investment fraud case suspect, Saritha S Nair in exchange for political favours in 2013.
The crime branch has charged Ernakulam Congress legislator Hibi Eden with rape and former state Ministers Adoor Prakash and AP Anil Kumar of outraging her modesty. The FIR has been filed in a special court set up to fast track cases against the legislators.
Reports revealed that the case against Anilkumar was registered under section 377(unnatural sex) and Section 420(cheating). Adoor Prakash was booked under sections 376(rape), 354A(sexual harassment) and section 120-O(causing, through any means of communication, a nuisance of himself to any person by a repeated or undesirable or anonymous call, letter, writing, message, e-mail or through a messenger) of the Kerala Police Act. Sections against MLA Eden included 376 and 354-A.
With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, this might be a major setback for the Congress, as Hibi Eden is the likely candidate from the Ernakulam Lok Sabha seat while Prakash might be contesting from Attingal or Alappuzha, and Anil Kumar may reportedly be the candidate from Alathur.
However, Hibi Eden has rubbished the claims calling it politically motivated and a tactic to damage the image of the Congress Party and its candidates.
Meanwhile, last year the Kerala police had also booked Oommen Chandy, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress party who served as the Chief Minister of Kerala for two terms, and KC Venugopal on the charge of rape, following a written complaint by Saritha Nair. However, the details of the case filed in the court in Kochi was kept off the record.
This high profile case has been spooking the United Democratic Front (UDF) off and on since 2013. The UDF is an alliance of political parties in Kerala created by the prominent Indian National Congress party leader Shri. K. Karunakaran in the 1970s.
Saritha Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan were accused of cheating investors of several crore rupees by claiming powerful political contacts in the UDF government. Nair, who is facing over 30 cases of cheating and fraud, had claimed during the investigation that she was sexually exploited by several politicians in the UDF government.
This case saw the exit of the then CM Oommen Chandy’s private secretary Tenny Joppan who was also arrested in the case.
This controversy had gained prominence in 2017 when the Sivarajan Commission which probed the solar scam concluded that top ministers of the UDF government had sought and received sexual favours from Saritha on the promise that they would help her promote her business.