news Thursday, February 05, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 5, 2015 | 12.00 pm IST Three top Vigilance officers of Kerala, all three who are investigating high profile cases, are going on long leave. The opposition in the state is crying hoarse that the decisions by three officers who are in charge of investigating the Kerala bar scam in which the state Finance Minister K M Mani is the main accused and solar scam cannot be a mere coincidence. Vigilance Director Vinson M. Paul has taken leave for a pleasure trip and is likely to visit Sikkim for relaxation. Following him, DGP M. N. Krishnamoorthy who was investigating the solar scam, and will be retiring on February 28 is also taking a leave in a similar manner, to tour Sikkim. Sources say that the officers who are in charge of bar bribery case are subject to pressure, both from the state and centre. “The Vigilance director gets hundreds of phone calls daily, trying to influence him, in the bar scam investigation,” a source in the Vigilance department told The News Minute. Making this situation more interesting is the fact that Vigilance ADGP Jacob Thomas who was recently promoted as DGP and was investigating the bar scam has also decided to go one leave from next week, for a trip to America. The opposition has alleged that since bar scam whistle blower Biju Ramesh released the audio evidences against Mani, the vigilance has been pressurized politically and that there was a concerted effort to thwart investigations into the case. The Kerala government had earlier, on January 21, promoted Vigilance Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Jacob Thomas - who was investigating the bar bribe case of the finance minister, to the post of Director General of Police (DGP). Jacob Thomas, known to be an upright officer, was investigating the case against the Finance Minister, in which a bar owner Biju Ramesh, had alleged that Rs 1 crore had been handed over to the minister as bribe to renew licences to more than 400 liquor bars that had been closed down in the state. A day before the promotion, Biju Ramesh released audio tapes that revealed a discussion among bar owners about Rs 5 crore that had allegedly been given to the Finance Minister. Jacob Thomas' promotion came at a time when the whistleblower was handing over important evidence to the department. While a transfer would've made it obvious, it seems like the Kerala government had promoted him to get him off the case. The whole winter session of the Assembly had been chaotic after the opposition brought up the 'bargate' scandal, saying Finance Minister K.M. Mani took bribe of Rs.1 crore as the first installment of the Rs.5 crore from bar owners Tweet

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