A special court here today directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to submit the case diary and fact-finding probe report in the bar bribery case against former Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani. Special Judge John K Illikadan gave the directive during the hearing on the Vigilance's report seeking closure of the case against Mani who has been accused of receiving a bribe of Rs one crore for renewing bar licences in 2014.
The Judge then adjourned the matter to February 16. The Vigilance had on January 14 filed its second report holding that there was no evidence to file charge sheet against Mani in the sensational bar bribery case.
The report had also stated that bar owner association leader Biju Ramesh raised the bribery allegations against the then Minister as he feared a huge financial loss due to the government s liquor policy advocating closure of bars.
Vigilance SP R Sukeshan in his 76-page report said Ramesh levelled the charges in order to put pressure on the government for the renewal of the bar licence. The report was submitted after a further probe following a directive of the special court that rejected the Vigilance's first report exonerating Mani in the case in October last.
82-year old Mani, the supremo of Kerala Congress (M), resigned as Finance Minister in November last after an adverse remark by the high court in a connected case. KC-M is the third largest partner in ruling Congress-led UDF.
An FIR had been filed against Mani after a quick verification by the Vigilance Bureau on the allegations made by Biju Ramesh, Kerala State Bar Hotel Ownerss Association working President. Ramesh had in October, 2014 alleged that Mani demanded Rs five crore as bribe from the Association and accepted Rs one crore for renewal of licences of 470 Indian made foreign Iiquor Bars.