Thiruvananthapuram | In fresh troubles for another minister in the Oommen Chandy government, the Vigilance has received legal opinion to launch a probe against Excise Minister K Babu for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 10 crore from bar owners.
However, there was no need to register an FIR and conduct a separate investigation, as a probe was already on in the case against Kerala Congress (M) supremo and Finance Minister K M Mani, according to the legal opinion submitted by Additional Director of Prosecution (Vigilance) G Saseendran.
A final decision in this regard has to be taken by the Vigilance Director, official sources said.
The Vigilance had launched a preliminary probe against Mani in December last soon after allegations of Rs one crore bribe was made by Bar Association Working President Biju Ramesh. Later a special cell of the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau had registered a case against Mani.
The bar owner had recently reiterated his allegation in a statement made to the Vigilance that a Rs 10 crore bribe had been paid to Babu. Health Minister V S Sivakumar had also been named in the statement.
Meanwhile, ruling out his resignation, a defiant Babu told reporters here that Biju Ramesh was following ‘blackmail tactics’ that had affected his image.
Challenging Ramesh to come out with details of the bribe – when, where and to whom Rs 10 crore was paid – Babu said the former had not stated so far that the money had been paid to him.
Alleging that the hotelier was part of a conspiracy to malign him, the minister said the allegation of Rs 10 crore bribe was being levelled almost 6 months after it had been alleged that Rs one crore had been paid to Mani.
As soon as the allegations had surfaced against Mani, opposition Left front had demanded his resignation, even trying to prevent him from presenting budget on March 13 which resulted in an unprecedented ruckus in the Assembly.