Scams, Controversies Rocked Kerala in 2015

Published: 18th December 2015 10:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th December 2015 11:46 AM   |  A+A-


THIRUVANTHAPURAM: Kerala was hit by a series of scams in 2015, one of which led to the ignominious exit of Finance Minister K M Mani, and among other headlines was one over the exclusion of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from a function of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which also had its echo in Parliament.

Chandy, who was invited to attend the statue unveiling function of late chief minister R Sankar at Kollam, was later politely asked by the organisers -- Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), an organisation of the backward Hindu Ezhva community, to stay away from the function, triggering a huge controversy.

Kerala was also be the venue of the Combined Commanders conference of the three services held on board India's largest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in Kochi. Inaugurated by Modi, this was the first time that the conference was held outside the national capital.

Modi also visited the Sivagiri mutt and paid respects to social reformer and spiritual leader Sree Narayana guru by planting a sampling.

The bar scam, in which Mani was allegedly involved, dominated the political scenario in Kerala throughout the year.

Mani, against whom vigilance sleuths had registered an FIR in the bar scam, was forced to resign a day after Kerala High court made some stinging observations.

Though the 82-year-old strongman from Pala and supremo of Kerala Congress (M) tried to hold on, luck seemed to have given away after Chandy and other UDF partners put pressure on him to quit. A reluctant Mani finally had to give in and submit his resignation.

Mani, who has mass base, especially in central Travancore area dominated by Christan community, represented the Pala constituency for 50 years continuously.

His resignation came as a big blow to the Chandy government as he is the second minister who was forced to quit from the Cabinet. Earlier, K B Ganesh Kumar of Kerala Congress (B) had resigned after his estranged wife complained of domestic violence. Ganeshkumar and his party led by his father R Balakrishna Pillai, later left the UDF.

For Chandy, more trouble seems to be brewing in the bar scam, with a vigilance court now ordering a quick verification against another minister, K Babu, handling Excise and Ports.

The development came as an embarrassment for Chandy as Babu is a Congress minister and close confidant of his.

The CPI(M)-led LDF opposition has already begun demanding both in the assembly and outside that Babu should quit and face probe.

A prominent bar hotelier, Biju Ramesh had made stunning revelations during a television debate that the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association had paid Rs one crore bribe to Mani and Rs 10 crore to Babu for favourable decisions.


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