CBI seeks SC nod to initiate probe into bar bribery case, claims Kerala CM behind suspending probe

B Balagopal / Mathrubhumi News

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Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an affidavit on Monday expressing their willingness to investigate the 2015 bar bribery case. This case caused significant political turmoil against the UDF government in the state at that time. The CBI has also sought permission from the Supreme Court to initiate the investigation.

The remark from CBI came after the court considered a petition seeking a probe against Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, former ministers VS Sivakumar, K Babu and Rajya Sabha MP Jose K Mani.

UDF government came under immense pressure in 2015 after Biju Ramesh, former president of the Kerala Bar Hotel Association (KBHA), alleged that he paid bribes to receive licences for 418 bars closed by the Oommen Chandy government.

He also named KM Mani in his complaint, leading to the late KC(M) leader resigning from office as Finance Minister. He alleged that Mani demanded Rs 5 crore, and he had paid Rs 1 crore for the licence.

In the affidavit, CBI noted that Biju also levelled allegations against other senior Congress leaders in 2020. Biju alleged that excise minister K Babu accepted Rs 1 crore as bribe to renew and reduce licence fees. He also claimed that he paid Rs 1 crore to then Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Rs 25,000 to VS Sivakumar in 2015.

Biju also remarked that Jose K Mani had offered Rs 10 crore to withdraw complaints against his father KM Mani. Meanwhile, CBI also claimed there are allegations against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for suspending the investigation against KM Mani.

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