THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hotelier and bar owner Biju Ramesh, who blew the lid off the bar bribery scandal during the UDF rule in the state, says he has decided to withdraw from liquor business. Under the new liquor policy that allows bars in three-star hotels and above, he can apply for two more bar licences, but he has decided not to, he said on Friday.
‘’I’ve decided to withdraw from the bar business. What I started in the family I have decided to stop,’’ the 52-year-old chairman and MD of Rajadhani Group said on Friday. On the reasons for his decision, Biju, who is also a top office-bearer of the Kerala Bar Hotels Association (KBHA), said he wishes to focus on his other businesses. ‘’Everyone needs a change in life,’’ he says.
Biju runs a chain of hotels in Thiruvananthapuram city, many of which currently possess the FL-11 licence to run beer/wine parlours. He says his plan is to stop that too, but would continue for the present as the livelihood of a large number of employees is dependent on it. At one point, Biju had licences to run 12 bars.
Biju had grabbed the headlines following the previous UDF Government’s policy to shut down 730 bars and confine them to five-star hotels. On the night of October 31, 2014, Biju turned whistle-blower, accusing the then Finance Minister K M Mani of taking Rs 1 crore as bribe to renew bar licences. A desperate Mani hung on, but finally tendered his resignation in November 2015.
He had then trained his guns on Excise Minister K Babu. Faced with bribery charges, Babu put in his papers on January 23, 2016. But the government decided not to accept his resignation. By then, the Assembly elections were in the offing, and Biju Ramesh had yet another surprise up his sleeve.
He announced he had decided to contest the elections on an AIADMK seat. He finished fourth with 5,762 votes behind Congress’s V S Sivakumar, LDF’s Antony Raju and cricketer S Sreesanth of the BJP.
Biju had grabbed the headlines following the previous UDF Government’s policy to shut down 730 bars and confine them to five-star hotels. On the night of October 31, 2014, Biju turned whistle-blower, accusing the then Finance Minister K M Mani of taking Rs 1 crore as bribe to renew bar licences