Kerala CM Oommen Chandy digs heels in, calls back ministers who quit

Babu had quit after Vigilance court in Thrissur ordered to register a case against him on the allegation that he had pocketed bribe from bar owners.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthpuram | Updated: January 31, 2016 3:36 am
K babu, Kerala bar bribery case, bar bribery case, K babu bar bribery case, Babu submitted his resignation letter to the Chief Minister, but that was not forwarded to the governor.

Digging its heels in against the series of allegations against its ministers, the Congress-led UDF decided on Saturday not to accept the resignation of Excise Minister K Babu, who had quit a week ago.

Babu had submitted his resignation to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy after the Vigilance Court in Thrissur ordered a probe against him into the allegation that he had taken Rs 10 crore as bribe from owners to reduce the hike in liquor licence fee.

The UDF also urged Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani to return to the Cabinet. In November last year, Mani had quit as finance minister after the high court upheld the Vigilance court decision to conduct a further probe into the allegation that he had taken Rs 1 crore as bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licences.

However, the Vigilance court had recently given him a clean chit after its further probe failed to fetch enough evidence to chargesheet Mani.

Chandy, who has refused to resign over allegations himself, appears to have decided to retain his loyalist Babu. The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau that acted on a PIL against Babu is handled by Chandy’s rival Ramesh Chennithala.

Instead of handing over Babu’ s resignation to the governor, the CM had waited for a decision by the high court. Two days back, the high court stayed the Vigilance probe against Babu for two months. Against the backdrop of the relief from the high court, the UDF meeting, attended by Chandy and other senior coalition leaders, found no reason to accept Babu’s resignation.

Babu told media in Kochi that he would go by the decision of the UDF. “I am not an Independent legislator. Hence, I have to go by what the party said.”

Congress sources said the party cannot keep Mani away from the Cabinet as that may affect the fortunes of Congress candidates in a few Assembly segments in central Kerala.

But Mani said he had no immediate plans to join the Cabinet. “I would take an appropriate decision at the apt time after consulting with party leaders. I am not in a haste to join the Cabinet again.”

Incidentally, the UDF invitation to Mani comes ahead of the Catholic politician’s slated meeting with BJP president Amit Shah next week in Kottayam. Shah is visiting Kerala on February 3.

Two weeks back Union minister Sadananda Gowda had a closed-door meeting Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syrian Catholic Church in Kerala. BJP sources said one of the demands of the Church was that the BJP should accommodate Mani’s son Jose K Mani, a Member of Parliament, in the NDA ministry.

CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan accused Mani of bargaining with the Congress ahead of his meeting with Shah.

A top leader of the BJP said there were “surprises” in store in Kerala.

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  1. C
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:17 am
    The High Court stay is a temporary relief for UDF leaders though the accusation on corruption sticks. The excise minister K.Babu has is allegiance to his group leader Oomen Chandy and is known to serve him well. under the present UDF rule, political morality has taken a back seat .
  2. D
    Dr Gautam
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:39 am
    In india opposition is as bad as the ruling party ,so they win by default,why cant youth,technocrats,honest people make a party and win??
  3. D
    Dr Gautam
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:37 am
    Will the people give him a clean chit,he of that party which is the mother of all corruption and strangely ,hi,bose too belonged to this party ,but must be turning in their grave now
  4. B
    Jan 31, 2016 at 1:38 am
    Chanddy 1.5 carore solar Jetlee. 65 carore ddca
  5. B
    Jan 31, 2016 at 1:46 am
    Chandi brought cm same laval to clerk because thes day clerks bribe rate start from 1.5 carore
  6. K
    Jan 31, 2016 at 10:23 am
    Well well, the Catholic church reports to Rome, it therefore has noo right to call itself the Catholic "Suriani" church.Please exclude the terms, Syro, or Suriani from your nomenclature and stop identifying with us.We dont bow to anyone, not to Shah, not to Rome and not to Ram.Therefore, you guys cannot claim Kingly descent from yria and then act like a labourer.You beggars and your Jewish co brothers were all servants of yria, you were given a free hand in Kerala under our patronage, you got some rubber and pepper and now you are preparing to sell our motherland for 30 coins of silver to a bunch of Bhakts?.Land was allowed to be taken by servants on the condition that the land will be protected, not sold out.Shame on you .We will make you tap rubber and cook us some stew in noo time and have you degraded in status to that of common Indians if you start playing the game.Kootharakal.
  7. M
    madan gupta
    Jan 31, 2016 at 1:03 am
    मुख मंत्री सबसे बड़ा corrupt है. इस को फांसी दो.
  8. I
    Jan 31, 2016 at 2:33 am
    Surprised why HIGH COURT takes up the CASE of CM in 24 hours while AAM INDIANS matter languish in HC for years together.
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