‘Bar bribe’: Minister sends legal notice to hotelier

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014,20:18 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani today sent a lawyer’s notice to hotelier Biju Ramesh asking him to withdraw his allegation that bar owners had paid Rs one crore as bribe to him for decisions that would help their business.
The notice sent through a High Court lawyer said Ramesh would be sued for Rs 10 crore as damages if he failed to withdraw the charge and made a public apology, Kerala Congress (M) sources said.
Ramesh, working president of Kerala Bar Hotels Association, had earlier this month went public with the allegation against Mani, a veteran politician and Kerala Congress(M) supremo.
The allegation rattled the Congress-led UDF Government headed by Oommen Chandy for a few days and a probe by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) was ordered to ascertain if there was some substance in the charge.
The controversy, however, began losing its steam with sections of hoteliers distancing themselves from the allegation later.
The Government had a few months ago 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.