The Kerala High Court on Monday observed that the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is not vigilant enough, while hearing a petition on the bar bribery case.
"The vigilance is not vigilant", Justice B Kemal Pasha said in passing remarks apparently referring to the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau which is probing the bar bribery charges against some state ministers.
The observations were made while considering a a petition to quash a defamation case filed by Kerala Excise Minister K Babu against Bar Hotel Owners Association President Biju Ramesh.
Babu has filed a defamation case against Biju Ramesh before Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Ernakulam, alleging that the bar hotel owner was making defamatory statements against him on the bar issue.
Counsel for Babu contended that why Biju Ramesh is not making a private complaint against the Minister after giving a statement under Section 164 of CrPC.
This prompted the High Court to ask whether or not the government is duty-bound to conduct an inquiry on coming to know about bribery allegations against a minister.
"All citizens have right to know the truth", the court said and directed to produce before it the statement given by Biju Ramesh to the magistrate.
In his statement, the hotelier had accused Babu of taking bribe.
Further hearing of the case is scheduled on February 1.
Meanwhile, in a separate case in the High Court relating to the bar bribery scam, the state vigilance department, in an affidavit, opposed a plea seeking a CBI probe into the bar bribery case.
It said the matter is pending before the Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, on the respective complaints by individual parties.
It noted that another person filed a complaint before the Lok Ayukta regarding the matter, which as per law is entitled to issue directions including the prosecution in the event of prima facie material to "justify corruption, nepotism or other mal-administration."
"Therefore, in the light of the fact that matters are pending before lower forums, the parties to this litigation can very well approach and ventilate their grievance on the basis of alternative remedy before the Lokayukta and also on the basis of doctrine of abstention by the higher forums", the affidavit said and prayed that the writ petitions seeking a CBI probe into the case be dismissed.