New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 21 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal Thursday said the alleged sleaze video recording of him with one of the accused in what has come to be called the "solar scam" was part of a conspiracy.
He demanded that the video be handed over to the authorities for investigation.
"This is nothing but a criminal conspiracy hatched against me, and this news of the video is now doing the rounds for a while, and even leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan spoke of it the other day. This is blackmail politics, and my request is that those who have the video should please hand it over to the authorities at the earliest," Venugopal told reporters in Delhi.
Venugopal was responding to questions soon after Kairali TV channel, which is backed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, telecast an interview with Jacob Mathew, counsel for Biju Radhakrishnan, the prime accused in the solar scam now in judicial custody.
Mathew claimed on TV that he was in possession of the video, and had seen the sleazy scenes, in which three ministers, an IAS and IPS officer, and five leading Kerala politicians, featured.
The solar scam has been making headlines in Kerala since June 3, when Saritha Nair was arrested. Two weeks later, her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan was also taken into custody.
The couple allegedly defrauded people by offering solar energy solutions at huge discounts, and often lured people into investing in their enterprise by citing acquaintance with people in high office in the state government.
Telephone call records of the couple revealed they had been in close touch with influential people in Kerala.
While one member of Chandy's personal staff was arrested in the case and released on bail later, two others lost their jobs.
The state police have so far charged the couple with 33 cases. In some of the cases, popular TV actress Shalu Menon was also accused. She is now out on bail.
Mathew, who spoke to reporters in front of a court in Kollam Thursday, where Radhakrishnan was produced in one of the cases, told reporters that he was prepared to hand over to authorities the video and a diary of Saritha Nair, which reveals where and when the events depicted in the video occurred.
Mathew told the Kairali TV that the video shows these politicians and officials in compromising positions with Saritha Nair.
"I came today to meet Radhakrishnan, and only when I get a written consent from him will I hand over the CD to any officials in the presence of the media," Mathew said.
Meanwhile, Achuthanandan, responding to the new development, said Chandy is the third accused in the solar scam and will have to go to jail.
The Chandy government has already announced a judicial probe into the solar scam.