Bar baron Biju Ramesh on Monday raised bribery allegations against two Congress ministers in Kerala, where already the scandal has landed two other cabinet members in corruption cases.
Ramesh, working president of Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association, told the media that he had paid Rs 2 crore to Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Rs 25 lakh to Health Minister V S Sivakumar.
He said Chennithala was paid the bribe when he had been the president of the Congress state unit. The amount was handed over to Chennithala at his office without taking any receipt for the payment. But, the bar association had entered Rs 2 crore in the name of Chennithala in its accounts.
He said Chennithala was bribed as per a direction from excise minister K Babu. “It was given to ensure that the government does not create any trouble for our liquor business. The association gave the money out of fear,’’ said Ramesh’s whose earlier revelations had already taken a toll on Congress government.
The bar owner said Sivakumar was given the amount through his personal assistant named Vasu.
Both Ministers refuted the allegation. Sivakumar said being the health minister, he was not associated with the bar issue in any manner. Hence, the bribe allegation was baseless.
Chennithala said the KPCC never accepted any fund without receipt. I had been KPPC president for nine years. The party mobilizes necessary fund from the public. No one has given fund to the party at the behest of the chief minister or any minister, said Chennithala.
When the bar bribery scandal had emerged last year, bar owners had leaked out their recorded conversations indicating that Chennithala and Sivakumar had taken bribe. One of the owners was even heard saying that if the bar owners reveal everything, the entire cabinet would go.