Kottayam | A day after a Special Vigilance court ordered further probe against Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani in the bar bribery case, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today held discussions with Advocate General K P Dandapani on the future course of action.
The Chief Minister, who held a 45-minute discussion with Dandapani at Aluva Palace near Kochi, refused to divulge details of the meeting. Sources known to the development said the government was exploring two legal options to deal with the matter. According to the sources, the first option is to file an appeal in Kerala High Court challenging the verdict of Thiruvananthapuram Special Vigilance Court.
However, government fears that an unfavourable High Court order in the case may further escalate crisis in the Congress-led ruling United Dmocratic Front (UDF) ahead of Assembly polls due next year. The second option is allowing Vigilance Department to file an appeal in the High Court seeking to remove damaging remarks against it by the special court in its order.
Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Director Vincent M Paul had proceeded on leave soon after the special court rejected the agency’s closure report and directed further probe into the bar bribery case. Meanwhile, a section of Kerala Congress-M leaders demanded that an urgent meeting of the party steering committee be convened to discuss the crisis.
Mani, KC-M supremo, however, rejected the demand. At present, there is no need for convening a steering committee meeting. Meetings will be held whenever it is required, Mani said at Kottayam. Anticipating opposition protest in view of court order, Mani cancelled his civic election meetings planned in Idukki district today.
In a big setback to the ruling Congress-led UDF ahead of next week’s civic polls, the special court yesterday observed there was sufficient material for making out a prima facie case in the bar bribery case against Mani, rejecting the final report seeking closure of the case and ordering further probe.
Criticising the VACB director in preparing the final report, the court had said the director brushed aside the contents of the factual report submitted by the investigating officer under the guise of supervisory powers. Mani, however, welcomed the verdict and said he was ready to face further probe.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.