Thiruvananthapuram | The Lok Ayukta has directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to submit a confidential report to it on the present status of investigation in the bar licence bribery scam by June 22.
The direction was given on a complaint by one Khalid Mundappilly, seeking a directive to the VACB to register cases against ministers allegedly involved in the scam in the wake of a confidential statement before the magistrate by Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners Association Working President Biju Ramesh that bribes were paid to ministers.
The Lok Ayukta said the report should also state whether any action has been taken on the matter. We understand from some newspaper reports that Biju Ramesh had given a statement before the Judicial First Class Magistrate under Section 164(5) of CrPC. If clear, direct and convincing evidence has been received by VACB through the statement regarding the alleged commission of offence by ministers, we do not find any reasons why VACB should not take action accordance with law, it further observed.
Biju had alleged that Excise Minister K Babu and Health Minister V S Sivakumar, both Congress nominees, had accepted bribes for renewal of licences from bar owners, as also K M Mani, state Finance Minister and leader of Kerala Congress (M), a key partner in the ruling UDF. VACB had registered a case against Mani when the scam broke out five months ago, after holding a quick verification on a petition by CPI(M) veteran and Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.
Investigation in the case is progressing. The Lok Ayukta observed We are sure that VACB will do the needful in accordance with law, keeping in mind the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code and the Supreme Court guidelines under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, KPCC President V M Sudheeran said the party would not hesitate to take action against those against whom charges of corruption have been raised if any findings came out to prove the charges. However, he made it clear that none would be made a scapegoat just in view of charges being levelled.
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