Bar bribery scam: Court orders case against him, Kerala minister quits

Babu, a Congress leader, is the second minister in Congress government to quit in the bar bribery scandal. Recently Finance Minister K Mani was forced to quit over bribery allegations.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: January 24, 2016 2:44 am
Bar bribery scandal, Kerala bar bribery, K Babu, K Babu resigns, K Babu quits, Kerala excise minister, K M mani bar bribery, Bar bribery scam Kerala Excise minister K Babu.

Kerala Excise Minister K Babu resigned on Saturday hours after the vigilance court in Thrissur asked the Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to register a case against him in the bar bribery scandal.

Babu, a senior Congress leader and a loyalist of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, is the second minister in the Congress-led UDF government to quit office in relation to the scam.

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In November last year, Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani had resigned as finance minister after the high court upheld the order of the vigilance court, Thiruvananthapuram, for further probe in the case.

Vigilance Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thrissur, S S Vassan ordered registration of a case against Babu on a PIL filed by a Thrissur resident, George Vattukulam. He had accused bar owners’ association president Biju Ramesh of paying a bribe of Rs 1 crore to Babu to renew the liquor licence of sub-standard bars. The petitioner noted that there was “video evidence” of Ramesh directly handing over Rs 50 lakh to the minister in his office chamber.

Noting that “no result” had come out since the petition was filed on December 19, Judge Vassan said, “I am of the view that the enquiry is not going to get any result. The complaint shall be treated as the basis for this crime to be registered and the director, VACB, shall register a case and proceed with the investigation under section 156 (3) of the CrPC.”

Setting a deadline of February 22 for completion of the probe, the judge said the court would monitor it. Bibu Ramesh will also be investigated for allegedly paying the bribe.

Soon after the court order, the Opposition demanded that Babu resign, while Congress state chief V M Sudheeran admitted that the issue was serious. The minister held talks with Chandy, Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala before resigning.

The precedent set by Mani and the pressure from the party, that can hardly afford an embarrassment ahead of the Assembly elections, forced the minister’s hand.

Announcing his decision to quit, Babu said there was no pressure on him. However, he added, “I am a victim of a conspiracy involving bar owners, Biju Ramesh and CPM leaders. The CPM has given an assurance to bar owners that the party would review the present liquor policy if it came to power. Why did Ramesh not mention my name when he gave a statement to Vigilance four times in the past?”
Ramesh, in turn, threatened that there were more blows ahead for the Congress, and that he would reveal names of other ministers who had taken bribes.

 

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  1. J
    Jim
    Jan 23, 2016 at 4:06 pm
    Look at him. You can't find a more apt face for a bar scam
    Reply
    1. R
      Raj Manglani
      Jan 24, 2016 at 1:47 am
      They are all crooks!
      Reply
    2. C
      Chand
      Jan 23, 2016 at 11:33 am
      A second minister of the UDF has fallen a prey to the corruption scandal. It seems the Excise Minister K.Babu was a conduit for party's funds and there are other party leaders who also benefited from the deals with Bar owners. The resignation of the excise minister is likely to again bring-up group politics in state Congress party as the clever and ambitious Ramesh Chennitala who heads one faction is likely to use this as a weapon against the Chief Minister in the net embly elections.
      Reply
      1. B
        Babyjoseph Chacko
        Jan 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm
        Unlike other states except Goa , in Keralam almost 95% people except women drink alcohol . Politicians Communists, hiji's congress people, Hinduata people and Muslims drink hot spirits. Even clergy of all faith drink alcohol in cover. But these people in day light will say the bad effects of liquor. If there is liquor business all people in the society will get some money for their organisational activities. But some politicians seek huge bribe from them. Then the problem arises.
        Reply
        1. D
          Deric
          Jan 24, 2016 at 1:37 am
          Chaney should retire
          Reply
          1. G
            George Cruz
            Jan 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm
            Will incompetent Rahul hi and Kejriwal calim that the BJP framed this Kerala Excise Minister K Babu and visit Kerala to get political mileage?? Probably YES. The facts are that the Kerala is a Hindu majority state with many historic Hindu temples but unfortunately has been hijacked by the communists, the congress party s, and the Christians/Muslims who are blinded by their religion and support blindly the congress party. Do Christians/Muslims in Kerala know that they are blinded by their religion??? NO. Do Christians/Muslims in Kerala claim to be secular, yet blinded by their religion and support congress blindly, and are biggest hypocrites???? A Definite YES.
            Reply
            1. P
              Purushothaman
              Jan 24, 2016 at 2:20 am
              It is a very strange to see that a bribery allegation can be made against a Minister any time. If it is a complaint by an ordinary person will he be able to survive in the society. Why the government is not conducting a thorough probe against the man who has made the allegations. The source of the money he has collected is to be accounted briefly for paying the bribe.
              Reply
              1. K
                KS KUMAR
                Jan 23, 2016 at 2:38 pm
                Why Rahul is silent. He should inform how much share he got.
                Reply
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