No CBI probe into bar bribery scam at this stage: High court

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015,20:35 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Turning down the plea for a CBI probe against Finance Minister, K M Mani, who is facing allegations in the bar bribe scam, the Kerala High court today said that investigation conducted by the vigilance so far cannot be said to be delayed or interferred with by the state to shield him.
A Division Bench said the probe agency has to be more careful and cautious while investigating corruption of persons occupying high offices in government because it is the duty of law enforcing agency to unearth the corruption in the high office and prove their crediblity of carrying out investigation without any fear or favour.
Their duty is more onerous when they are investigating allegations against sitting ministers of the state, the bench observed adding necessary steps should be taken for fair, impartial and substantial investigation.
We are of the view that investigation cannot be said to be delayed or being interferred with by the state. To condemn the investigation at this stage that the investigating agency has not conducted any raid in the house of Mani is premature, the bench observed.
When investigation is still going on and has not been concluded, we are not accepting the allegation that there is any deliberate attempt on the part of the state to thwart the investigation, the Bench said.
There is no material before the court to come to the conclusion that investigation is being interferred by the state government with the intent to shield Mani.
Holding that there was no ground to issue any direction to transfer the case to the central probe agency at this stage, the bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, closed the petition by A V Thamarakshan, General Secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party of Kerala (Bolshevik) seeking CBI probe.
The bench held that the probe was still in progress and there being no material to come to the conclusion that the vigilance probe, now being carried out, was not free and impartial and report of investigating agency yet to be filed, we are of the view that at this stage no ground has been made out to issue any direction to transfer the case to CBI.
We cannot also draw any conclusion that the investigation is invariably delayed, the bench held. According to the petitioner, neither Mani nor his relatives has been questioned in the case. No raid had been conducted at their residence in Pala, Kottayam where bribe amount was alleged to have been handed over. Hence, no fair and transparent inquiry would be held, it was stated.