Kerala Bar bribery scam takes a new dimension as hotelier Biju Ramesh has raised serious allegations against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
The state government has had decided to give nod to the Vigilance to initiate a probe into the fresh allegations levelled by bar hotelier Biju Ramesh last month that Rs 20 crores were given to leaders and ministers of the previous UDF government to reduce the bar licence fees, including then KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, former excise minister K Babu and former health minister VS Sivakumar.
Now, Biju Ramesh has come up with serious allegations against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala in connection with the bar bribery scam. He alleged that the probe into the bar bribery scam ended after former Finance minister K M Mani met CM Pinaray Vijayan at his residence.
Biju also said that he didn’t mention the name of Ramesh Chennithala in the confidential statement given to Vigilance earlier, upon the request of Ramesh Chennithala and his wife. Pinarayi Vijayan and former CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who had earlier supported me, changed their stance later.
He alleged that all the politicians are same as he didn’t get justice. Biju demands that a central agency should probe this case as the Vigilance investigation announced now cannot be trusted. He had revealed names and provided facts regarding many political leaders involved in this scam including how Jose K Mani tried to influence him, before the vigilance, but they said they have no authority to probe those.
Biju Ramesh had told media persons that Jose K Mani had threatened to eliminate him if he did not withdraw the complaint against his father and former finance minister KM Mani. When he did not relent, Jose offered him Rs 10 crore.
The Vigilance probe comes at a time when the state and central investigation agencies are taking action against political leaders and elected representatives in both the ruling and opposition front in Kerala. In addition to Chennithala, former Congress ministers VS Sivakumar and K Babu will face the probe. However, the Vigilance has not decided when to begin the probe officially.
Last month, Biju Ramesh alleged that he was offered Rs 10 crore by Jose K Mani to settle the bar bribery scam. During the last tenure of the UDF government, the case was in the Supreme Court for four or five consecutive days.