The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) charged a case against Finance Minister KM Mani, who was under a cloud over charges of corruption on the bar licence issue, on Thursday.
The alleged case filed against Mani said that the minister has demanded Rs. 5 crore as illegal gratification “to facilitate the renewal of bar licences and obtained Rs. 1 crore from the office-bearers of the Kerala Bar Hotel Association (KBHA) during the period between March 20 and April 3, 2014.”
In the First Investigation Report submitted by VACB, it pointed out that the minister has misused his official position and said he, “thereby committed criminal misconduct” under sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The issue came up after the chief of the Kerala Hotels and Bar Association, Biju Ramesh, alleged that Mani has asked Rs.5 crore to him in return for renewal of licenses of the 418 bars and he claimed that he has given Rs 1 crore to the minister.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has denied the claims raised by Ramesh, saying it as “politically motivated and far from the reality”. However, there are protests in winter session assembly held on Thursday seeking for Mani’s resignation and against Chief Minister, whom the opposition claim as the one who “protect” Mani.
However, Mani has denied all the allegations and said he will not resign from his post unless he is found guilty in the case. He said that there was nothing new in the development as such cases had been registered against several Ministers in the past too. Since the allegation, Mani came under heavy attack from the Left opposition who demanded that the 81-year-old legislator who has won every election he contested since 1965 should quit.
Meanwhile, days ago, Deputy Leader of Opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had tried to table a CD in the assembly, which is claimed to be the footage of the illegal transaction between the minister and others. He has also alleged that “the driver of the car bearing registration number KL01B 7878 had delivered Rs.15 lakh in cash at Mani’s official residence in Pala. He was followed by two others who handed over Rs. 35 lakh”.