Serve notice on Mani, others over bar scam: Kerala HC

Kochi, Nov 21 (IANS) The Kerala High Court on Saturday ordered that notice be served on former state finance minster K.M. Mani and others over the bar scam in the state, following a fresh petition in the case that said the leader was not heard.

The single bench of Justice B. Sudheendra Kumar also directed the vigilance department to hand over all files pertaining to the case, and posted the matter for December 2.

The high court gave its order after a petitioner, Sunny Mathew, approached the court with a fresh plea stating that the high court judgment which came earlier this month upholding the vigilance court order, did not hear Mani.

The court order asked all those in position to see that they keep silent and not engage in open debates in this case.

The Special Vigilance Court, in the state capital, had last month quashed the clean chit given by the vigilance department to Mani and asked for a further probe.

Mani quit as minister a day after the high court order.

Trouble began for Mani and the Oommen Chandy government after whistle-blower bar owner Biju Ramesh said in October 2014 that Mani was paid a bribe of Rs.1 crore for his promise that the bars closed in the state in the wake of a new liquor policy would be reopened.

Since then the Left opposition was up in arms and was constantly demanding the resignation of Mani and also State Excise Minister K. Babu, who Ramesh later said, was also given money to reduce the annual bar license fees.

Asked by reporters about his reaction, Chief Minister Chandy shot back: “Did you not hear what the court said, none should express their opinion.”

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