THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The bar bribery scam continues to haunt the UDF Government in the Assembly with the Opposition staging a walkout on the second day of the session after Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala defended Excise Minister K Babu, stating that the Vigilance had not registered an FIR against the minister due to lack of evidence.
The Opposition staged the walkout after V S Achuthanandan moved a submission against the Excise Minister in the bar bribery scam. In the submission, Achuthandan demanded the government to file an FIR against Babu and probe his role in the scam.
He also alleged that the Home Minister, instead of filing an FIR in the case against Babu based on the revelations and evidence produced by hotelier Biju Ramesh, had only ordered an inquiry by the Ernakulam Vigilance SP. However, the Vigilance SP had given a clean chit to Babu stating that there was no evidence to file a case against him. He alleged that Chennithala had helped Babu in the case. VS said that the Vigilance had not dared to file a case against the Minister because of political pressure. He further said that the investigating agency had not responded to his three letters demanding a detailed probe against Babu.
However, Chennithala in his reply, stated that there was no evidence against Babu and as such the case was dropped. Moreover, the CD that Biju Ramesh had produced was found to be altered and modified, which could not be taken as an evidence, he said. The statements given by the bar owners regarding the bribe was also contradictory, he added.
Chennithala added that he could not divulge more on the issue as the case was now pending before the High Court. Soon after, C Diwakaran of the CPI and K Balan of the CPM came out against the government.
Meanwhile, Speaker N Sakthan said that no other member was allowed to raise any question during submission.
Govt Keen on Providing Online Voting Rights to NRKs: Min
T’Puram: Stressing that the state government was keen on providing voting rights to Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) in the coming Assembly elections, NORKA Minister K C Joseph said the government would urge the Central Government, Election Commission of India and Prime Minister to introduce online voting rights for the NRKs. “The government will recommend the Centre and the EC to make changes in the Representation of People Act to allow online voting rights for NRKs,” he told the Assembly in a reply to a calling attention moved by P Ubaidulla of the IUML. He said that the NRKs should be given the right to vote taking into account their contribution to the development of the state. Joseph also mentioned that it was because of the the efforts of the state government that the NRKs could get enlisted in the voters list during the local body elections.