Dancer-actress Shalu Menon in custody in 'solar' scam case

Kottayam (Kerala), July 5 (IANS) The police Friday arrested popular actress and dancer Shalu Menon in connection with what has come to be termed as the "solar scam".

Shalu Menon, highly connected politically and a popular film personality in the state, had managed to evade the police ever since news of the scam first broke.

However, a Thrissur court Thursday instructed the police to register a case against Shalu Menon for her alleged involvement with a couple against whom many cases of cheating have been filed.

After collecting large sums from investors in the name of a company called Team Solar, the couple -- Saritha S. Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan -- would fail to deliver the solar panels.

On complaints from numerous people of cheating, the couple was arrested by police last month.

Menon's links with the couple became evident after it was found that she had offered Radhakrishnan her car to get out of the state. She had also given the man her mobile phone to use while he was on the run.

Radhakrishnan was arrested from Coimbatore, and Shalu Menon's mobile phone was recovered from him.

The team investigating the case had summoned Menon and her mother, and the actress had claimed that she had no role at all in the scam.

However, a resident of the state capital registered a complaint against Shalu Menon, saying she had accompanied Biju Radhakrishnan when he took Rs.20 lakh from the complainant.

Images of Menon and Radhakrishnan attending a meeting of the solar panel company also appeared in the media. Reports also surfaced that Radhakrishnan had given a good amount of the money to Menon, and also purchased expensive gifts for her.

Meanwhile, the Left opposition was up in arms against state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, alleging that he had been protecting the actress, as the minister was seen attending the house-warming function of a grand house that Menon had constructed near here.

TV channels showed top political leaders in attendance at the house-warming function.

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