Court seeks records to decide bar scam case closure

Thiruvananthapuram, July 9 (IANS) A special court on Thursday told the vigilance department to produce all records related to a scandal linked to Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani apparently to close the case.

The Special Vigilance Court here also posted the case for August 7.

The case began in October 2014 when a whistle blower bar owner, Biju Ramesh, alleged that Mani was given Rs.1 crore as bribe by the Kerala Bar Owners to see that the 418 bars that were shut could reopen.

After opposition leader V.S. Acuthanandan wrote to the vigilance director, the Kerala government ordered a vigilance probe against Mani and a case was registered naming the minister as the first accused.

After seven months of probe, the vigilance department said there was not enough evidences against Mani and it filed a closure report to the special court which took up the case on Thursday.

It asked for notices to be served on Achuthanandan and Biju Ramesh and called for all the records.

Meanwhile, a fresh affidavit was filed before the court on Thursday stating the vigilance probe was not done properly and a fresh probe should be held under the supervision of the court.

The issue found an echo in the Kerala assembly where Speaker N. Sakthan was forced to adjourn the house after the opposition created an uproar.

Achuthanandan thundered that he would not let Mani and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy – who he said was trying to exonerate Mani – to go scot free and vowed to pursue the case.

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