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Bar bribery scandal: Kerala govt gets Speaker nod to file Vigilance case against Chennithala

The development comes before Kerala goes to the local body polls next week.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | December 2, 2020 4:15:21 am
Ramesh Chennithala

The CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala on Tuesday obtained the Speaker’s sanction to register a Vigilance case against Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Congress’s Ramesh Chennithala, in the bar bribery case under the previous Congress-led government.

The development comes before Kerala goes to the local body polls next week.

Chennithala said the Speaker’s action is politically motivated and taken at the behest of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The government had last month decided to revive the case against Chennithala and two other Congress leaders — both ministers in the previous UDF term — after bar baron Biju Ramesh’s recent claim that the owners’ association had allegedly paid them bribe to get bar hotel licence fee reduced.

He also alleged that Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani, now with the LDF, had offered Rs 10 crore to withdraw the bribery charge against his late father, K Mani, who was the then state Finance minister.

Following Ramesh’s allegations, the Vigilance conducted a quick verification report and approached Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, seeking his sanction to register a case against Chennithala, who was a legislator at the time of the alleged incident. The Vigilance Department has sought the Governor’s sanction to register cases against former ministers and Congress leaders K Babu and V S Sivakumar based on Ramesh’s allegations.

On Tuesday, the Speaker also gave sanction for Vigilance to register a case against IUML legislator K M Shaji on charges of allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 25 lakh for allocating a batch of class XII a government aided higher secondary school during the previous government.

Chennithala said, “The CPI(M) has threatened to register cases against a dozen UDF leaders, but we are not going to stop exposing the corruption in the government.”

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