August 28, 2016 1:32:58 am
THE VIGILANCE court here on Saturday ordered for further probe into the bar bribery scandal against former Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani.
The directive came after Vigilance SP R Sukesan filed a petition in court alleging that former Vigilance director Sankar Reddy had intervened in the probe in an attempt to give Mani a clean chit.
Sukeshan was the investigating officer in the case, which accused Mani of accepting bribe from bar-hotel owners to renew their liquor licence. While Sukesan’s initial report had said Mani could be chargesheeted, in a further investigation report submitted in January this year he said there was no evidence that the former minister had taken bribe.
In his petition, Sukesan said Reddy had forced him to reject evidence against Mani and tamper with the case diary. He said the probe could not be completed due to Reddy’s intervention.
Reddy, now director of State Crime Records Bureau, denied any interference and welcomed the order for further probe.
CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan also demanded a comprehensive probe into the alleged attempt to “sabotage” the case during the previous Congress-led UDF rule. Achuthanandan said the probe should look into role of then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala in “crippling” the case against Mani.
In a statement, the former Kerala CM said that a criminal case should be registered against Sankar Reddy. “This cannot be encouraged… It is very clear that there had been government intervention to change the course of investigation,” Achuthanandan said.
The Congress also did not show any enthusiasm to support Mani. “Let law take its course,’’ state Congress president V M Sudheeran said.
Alleging that his political opponents are behind the latest developments, Mani said, “Let the probe go on…. It was not correct for the investigating officer to seek further probe after having submitted two reports.”
(With PTI inputs)
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