THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance Court on Thursday adjourned Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association vice-president Biju Ramesh’s petition seeking a direct supervision by the court in the bar bribery case against Finance Minister K M Mani. The petition will be considered on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau will seek legal advice on the probe report against the minister. The charge-sheet against Mani will be finalised only after receiving the legal opinion.
It is learnt that the VACB has received circumstantial evidence to implicate Mani for an attempt to persuade the Cabinet on the reopening of 418 bars.
The team which inspected the minutes of the Cabinet meetings on March 26 and April 2 found that Mani had asked for “more time” to study whether the licences could be renewed. Former Chief Secretary E K Bharath Bhushan has reportedly confirmed this to the probe team.
Biju Ramesh’s audio recordings, the statements of over 300 people, the mobile phone tower location details of bar owners who visited the minister’s residences and the result of the polygraph test on Ambili, the driver of Biju Ramesh, are the other proofs.
Another crucial witness is Saju Dominic, a bar owner who told the probe team that he had handed over money at the minister’s residence in Pala. However, the reluctance of four office-bearers of the KBHOA to undergo a lie detector test came as a setback to the Vigilance team.