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Further probe into bar bribery case: double trouble for Congress in Kerala

The issue has brought corruption to the front burner of campaigning in a state where elections to three tier local bodies are slated for next week.

Written by Shaju Philip |
Updated: December 25, 2015 11:12:35 pm
K M Mani K M Mani

The vigilance court’s directive to go for a further probe against finance minister K M Mani in the bar bribery scandal is a severe drubbing for Congress-led Kerala government. The issue has brought corruption to the front burner of campaigning in a state where elections to three tier local bodies are slated for next week. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has already stated that local body elections would be a referendum on his government.

The CPI(M) led Opposition has demanded the resignation of regional Christian leader. After the bar bribery allegation, Mani had faced a deluge of corruption charges from several business verticals that he demanded money to waive tax proposals in budget proposals.

However, the Congress stood behind the leader of its ally Kerala Congress.

Now, the Congress would not only find little to fall back on to defend its decision but also the government stand exposed on the bid to subterfuge the probe.

The Home ministry had removed senior IPS officer Jacob Thomas from the supervisory role of bar case when the probe was at its final stage. Thomas had stated that he was under pressure from certain quarters while overseeing the probe and faced threat to his life. Following the vigilance court’s directive on Thursday, vigilance and anti corruption Bureau director Vinson M Paul sought leave, which would only further embarrass the government.

The further probe threatens to add more trouble for the Congress as it might lead to reopening of the allegation that Congress ministers Remesh Chennithala and K Babu too pocketed bribe from bar owners. Mani’s Kerala Congress had expressed its displeasure over the government stand to not probe Congress ministers.

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