Bar bribery case: Clean chit to former minister K Babu

VS Siju

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Kochi: The vigilance has given a clean chit to former minister K Babu in the bar bribery case. The former minister was involved in the corruption of Rs 100 cr over issuing new bar licenses and closure of liquor outlets close to bars.

The vigilance has submitted a final report before the court seeking cancellation of further action into the case claiming absence of evidence to prove the charges against Babu.

The report submitted by vigilance central range superintendent requested the court to cancel the case observing it to be baseless.

The vigilance booked K Babu over the complaint of Kerala Hotel Industrial Association president and Palakkad native VM Radhakrishnan.

As per the complaint, Babu took action to immediately issue license to some bars while keeping some applications pending. He also took a decision to favour the interests of Kerala Bar Hotel Association owners. It is also alleged that he misused his powers to shut down the liquor outlets situated close to the bars of his friends and benamis.

Crores of rupees were collected annually to renew the bar license through Kerala Bar hotel association. He also issued an order restricting issuance of bar license without his consent.

The vigilance carried out a detailed probe into each allegation and found it baseless, pointed out the report.

In 2016, the vigilance initiated a probe into the case after conducting a quick verification of the complaint.

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