KOTTAYAM: In the wake of allegations that bar owners had bribed a few ministers to facilitate the opening of closed bars, the Kerala Congress (M) has constituted an inquiry committee led by party deputy chairman and MLA C F Thomas to probe the charges levelled against party chairman and Finance Minister K M Mani.
The formation of the probe panel comes a few days after the party held a high power committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram in which it was first mooted.
“The party has formed an inquiry committee with Thomas as its head to probe into the conspiracy behind the bar lobby raising baseless allegations against Mani. The members of the probe panel include MP Joy Abraham, T S John, Francis George, P T Jose, Antony Raju and Arakkal Balakrishna Pillai,” said a press release issued by the Kerala Congress(M).
The inquiry committee is expected to submit its report before the party’s steering committee that is slated to meet here on November 18.
The party’s high power committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram had decided to set up a committee to probe political and other conspiracy angles related to the bribery allegations against K M Mani, but it couldn’t finalise the panel members then.
Earlier, a meeting of the party’s steering committee held here had thrown its weight behind Mani.
Hotelier Biju Ramesh, who owns many bars, had in an interview to a news channel claimed that Mani was paid a bribe of `1 crore to get the 418 bars in the state reopened.
He also said that he had proof with him to prove his claims. According to Biju Ramesh, representatives of the Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association (KBHA) had paid the money to the minister at his private residence in Pala in April.