‘Bar bribe’ row: Sudheeran dubs CPI(M) demand as irrational

Thursday, Nov 6, 2014,19:52 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kannur | As the graft allegation against Finance Minister K M Mani continues to dominate political discourse in Kerala, KPCC president V M Sudheeran today dubbed CPI(M)’s demand for a probe under judicial supervision as irrational and said it reflected internal commotions in that party.
This is an irrational demand. How could the judiciary supervise an inquiry into an issue which is not before the court, Sudheeran told reporters in Kannur. Sudheeran, who reached here as part of his five-week long state roadshow Janapaksha Yatra flagged off from Kasargode on Tuesday, said making such irrational demand only betrayed the turbulence in the state unit of the CPI-M.
Rejecting the party stalwart V S Achuthanandan’s demand for a CBI probe, CPI(M) state leadership yesterday called for an inquiry by a special team of Kerala police under judicial supervision into the allegation against Mani. The Government had ordered a quick verification by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to find out whether there was any substance in the charge.
The Congress led UDF Government headed by Oommen Chandy has come under a cloud after Working President of Bar Hotels Association Biju Ramesh alleged that Mani had demanded a hefty sum from the bar owners for re-opening 418 bars closed down earlier this year for want of required facilities. The Government had a few months back tightened the liquor policy by ordering closure of all bars except those attached to five-star hotels with the aim of leading the state to total prohibition within a decade.
The issue is now pending before the High Court after the bar owners challenged the decision. Meanwhile, CPI today said the party would launch a protest demanding Mani’s resignation. CPI state secretary Panniyan Raveendran said in Thiruvananthapuram that propriety demanded that Mani step down and face the inquiry.