Bar scam: No case against other ministers; Mani feels double standards

Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015,22:02 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Indicating brewing internal trouble in the ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala over the bar bribery scam, Kerala Congress (M) supremo and Finance Minister K M Mani today expressed his displeasure over registration of FIR by the Vigilance against him in the matter.
Reacting to Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau decision not to order a quick verification on allegations of corruption levelled against three of his ministerial colleagues belonging to Congress, he said, Let people decide registering FIR against me is correct or not.
I do not have any complaint against anybody. But, people will decide whether justice was done to me… There is no need to register a case against me legally and morally, he added.
He, however, said the KC(M), the third major partner of the UDF, was not scared of the case. We are not afraid of the case. Law will take its course… But what is happening behind is that government and the ruling front is getting weakened, Mani, facing charges of accepting huge sums of money for renewing licences of liquor bars, said.
The 82-year-old KC-M leader’s comments came shorty after one of the party’s General Secretaries Antony Raju termed as ‘double standard’ the registration of FIR against him.
What irritated KC-M was the latest decision of Vigilance not to order any probe against three Congress ministers in the bar bribery case based on a letter submitted by CPI-M veteran and Leader of the Opposition in Assembly V S Achuthanandan.
The letter was rejected by the Vigilance saying the evidence and audio clip enclosed with it were not clear. Achuthanandan has also demanded a probe against Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, Excise Minister K Babu and Health Minister V S Sivakumar, in the background of the allegations of corruption raised by Working President of State Bar Owners Association Biju Ramesh against them.
The VACB registered an FIR and ordered for a quick verification against Mani on another letter submitted by Achuthanandan based on the allegations of Ramesh.
Talking to reporters, Raju said Mani was denied justice. The yardstick applied for registering case against Mani was not applied against the three ministers.
I am not saying that Vigilance should have registered FIR against the three ministers. But, it was unfair to have different law for Mani and others, he said.
The development also gave strength to party’s charge that there was a political conspiracy behind targeting Mani in the bar bribery case, Raju said, adding that Chennithala should come out with an explanation on the matter.
Ever since the issue came up, Chennithala had maintained that FIR and quick verification were mandatory without going into the veracity of the allegations as per a Supreme Court verdict in such cases.