Mani wanted the crime branch probe against vigilance SP R Sukesan to be completed.

Bar bribery case Kerala HC refuses to stay vigilance proceedings against KM Mani
news Bar Bribery Friday, April 08, 2016 - 13:33

The Kerala High Court on Friday rejected Kerala Congress (M) chief KM Mani’s plea to suspend the vigilance proceedings against him in the bar bribery scam.

"If the vigilance court were to pronounce any verdict on May 16, then KM Mani will be given an opportunity to question it,” justice PD Rajan said.

Justice P D Rajan rejected the prayer of 82-year-old Mani seeking to stay the proceedings against him till the state Crime Branch filed an inquiry report in a case against a Vigilance Superintendent of Police accused of conducting a false probe in the bar bribery case involving the KC-M leader.Mani argued that SP R Sukeshan, the Investigating Officer in the case, is accused of instigating Kerala Bar Hotel Association Working President Biju Ramesh to level allegations against four state ministers in the bar bribery scam related to renewal of licences of the liquor bars.

Reacting to the  court order, KM Mani said it was not a setback for him "it would have been a setback if the court had rejected the plea".

The vigilance case was filed based on the allegation by Ramesh that Mani had accepted Rs one crore for renewing licences of more than 400 bar hotels.

Refusing to stay the proceedings against Mani, who resigned as minister after the vigilance case was registered last year, the judge came down heavily on police for the manner of investigation being conducted in both the bar bribery scandal and the conspiracy case against Sukeshan.

Directing the police to file a detailed counter affidavit in the petition filed by Mani, he said there was no urgency in this matter and deferred to May 19 for further consideration.

The court also refused repeated prayer by Mani's counsel to post the case for consideration during the vacation.

When Mani's counsel contended that the case against the former minister was false, Justice Rajan orally asked, "How can your own police register a false case against a powerful minister?"

The Vigilance Court, Thiruvananthapuram will consider the case against Mani on April 16, exactly a month before the state goes to Assembly polls.

The high court observed that no efforts have been taken by the probe agency to ascertain the authenticity of electronic data collected during investigation in the case against the Vigilance SP with regard to the allegations against his investigation in the bar bribery scandal. Mani is set to seek election from his home constituency Pala in Kottayam in the May 16 Assembly polls.

(With PTI Inputs)

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