In an embarrassment to the Kerala Congress (M), The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) slapped a case against State Finance Minister KM Mani over bribery allegation. The issue pertains to the allegation by Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association that the septuagenarian minister had taken a bribe of Rs 1 crore from them to reopen closed bars in the state.
There are nine witnesses, who have testified that Mani has taken the bribe. Moment the news spread, the Left opposition sought the sacking of Mani. However, the Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who also holds the vigilance portfolio, told that filing of a case does not warrant such a step. Mani also said that once the department finishes its probe the truth will come out. So there is nothing wrong in holding on to the post. Besides the 81-year-old minister, the other big fish to have netted by the VACB recently is the Superintendent of Police Rahul R Nair and IAS officer and state PWD secretary TO Sooraj, both of whom are now under suspension.
Things gathered momentum when the VACB, last month ,found out that IPS officer Nair had allegedly took a bribe of Rs 17 lakh from quarry owners.