As the apex court upheld the state government’s liquor policy on the fag end of 2015, the fate of the bar hotels in the state was sealed. However, one of the main loser in the whole drama was veteran politician K M Mani, who lost his coveted ministership following the bribe gate.
“Vulnerable persons, either because of age or proclivity towards intoxication or as a feature of peer pressure, more often than not, succumb to this temptation. Banning public consumption of alcohol, therefore, in our considered opinion, cannot but be seen as a positive step towards bringing down the consumption of alcohol, or as preparatory to prohibition,” said the court while pronouncing the order.
The liquor policy only allows 27 five-star hotels and 33 club houses to serve alcoholic beverages in the state. Under mounting pressure from Congress leaders and the allies of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) in the wake of censure from the High Court, Mani had stepped down from his cabinet post.
“I am resigning as a sign of my respect for rule of law, I am resigning as Minister,” was his last words while announcing the resignation.
Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association working president Biju Ramesh, on October 31, came out with allegation that Mani had demanded a bribe of `5 crore and accepted `1 crore as the first tranche for the renewal of bar licences in April 2014.
Kerala Takes a Left Turn
In the political thriller that the local body polls rightly was, the LDF won 549 panchayats while UDF’s tally stood at 364. Out of the 86 municipalities BJP won the Palakkad Municipality, while the tally of LDF and UDF stood at 43 and 42 respectively.
Meanwhile, sleaze takes over....
A fleet of police convoys ecorting solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishnan on a 10-hour-long hunt for an alleged CD containing the discreetly videotaped footages showing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, two of his Ministers and other politicians in compromising positions with Saritha S Nair, was beamed live to Kerala living rooms.
The posse of OB vans in tow and the hollering news anchors back in in the studio added zing to the high-octane drama. Sadly, leaving the roaring TV anchors chagrined, the hunt turned into a wild goose chase with the cops drawing a blank. The Justice G Sivarajan Commission probing the solar scam had earlier asked Biju Radhakrishnan to produce the CD and decided to send him along with his counsel to an undisclosed location in Coimbatore.
‘Big Daddy’ Busts Sex Ring
Hurtling the war against parochial moral policing back to where it began, chest-thumping Kiss of Love campaigners Rahul Pasupalan and his wife Rashmi Nair where arrested on charges of running an online sex racket and promoting seedy and child pornographic content. In a state well-stocked with contradictions and ironies, the arrest shook the conscience of thousands who covertly and overtly expressed solidarity with the campaign.They were nabbed from Kochi during a statewide raid against online sex rackets named ‘Operation Bid Daddy’. Six others, including NRIs, involved in spreading child pornographic materials through FB page ‘kochu sundarikal’ were also nabbed. Later, Joshi Joseph aka Achayan, who played a key role in trafficking minors for prostitution, surrendered before the Crime Branch. He was also arraigned in the Paravoor and Varapuzha sex abuse case.
The obscene video clips of solar scam key accused Saritha Nair started doing rounds in WhatsApp in the last leg of 2014, with spill over effects in 2015. The clips caught on with the public prompting the Kerala police to monitor the mobile phone activities of nearly 28,000 people who shared the video clips. Meanwhile, sleaze ate into the mediaspace as more and more Saritha chronicles came tumbling out. Every conversation, discousrses and debates centred around Solar. The Saudi police had arrested four Malayalis for sharing obscene videos via WhatsApp.