Following finance minister KM Mani’s resignation in the bar bribery scandal, excise minister K Babu was the next on the list to be axed for taking a bribe, bar owner Biju Ramesh.
Ramesh had revealed that Mani was paid Rs 1 crore to re-open the bars closed down in Kerala in the wake of a new excise policy. He said Babu was next to be bribed and he personally to Babu’s office in the Kerala secretariat to hand over Rs 50 lakh in cash.
Mani, who has been winning from Pala in Kottayam since 1967, resigned after the Kerala High Court said there was a need for further probe into the allegations against him.
Ramesh on Thursday said his “next target” was Babu. He alleged that the vigilance department “played foul” with his plea that Babu too was a “culprit”. “I handed over Rs 50 lakh to Babu’s office. The vigilance failed to investigate my charge. So I have decided to take the case forward,” said Ramesh.
Babu and chief minister Oommen Chandy on 12 November Ramesh has been levelling the same allegations for the last 12 months. There was nothing new in them.
On 12 November, Ramesh briefed media that he will approach the HC against the “partisan” investigation by the vigilance department, which gave a clean chit to Babu.
Reacting to Ramesh’s statement, CPM Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai said the issue was grave and needs to be probed. “This is a serious issue and a fresh investigation is called for,” said Pillai, while talking to reporters on 13 November.