Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said on Sunday that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau will probe the allegation that Finance Minister K M Mani took a bribe from bar hotel owners to renew their liquor licences.
Speaking to media in Thrissur, he said a prima facie probe will be held based on the complaint of Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan. However, a decision on whether a case should be registered against Mani would be taken only after the preliminary probe.
Achuthanandan had written to the Home Minister on Saturday seeking a probe into the matter. “The government gives due respect to the letter from the Opposition leader. There is no politics in the decision. The government is sticking to the legal route only,” Chennithala said.
The bar owners association’s representative Biju Ramesh had threatened to move the High Court seeking a CBI probe if the state government did not probe the matter. Although Mani refuted the allegation, several other bar owners disclosed that they handed over money to the association leaders to pay political leaders to get the licences renewed.
Government chief whip P C George had also alleged that bar owners had collected Rs 15 crore to get licences renewed.
On Sunday, Achuthanandan said a CBI probe should be ordered into the issue.