Kerala bar bribery case: Verdict reinforces people’s faith in legal system, says Biju Ramesh

The background was that 418 bars were closed in the state on March 31 that year after the government decided not to renew the licences.

Published: 19th September 2018 02:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2018 04:31 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Biju Ramesh, the Thiruvananthapuram-based hotelier and businessman who blew the lid on the bar bribery scam in 2014, on Tuesday said he was happy the Vigilance Special Court was convinced of former Finance Minister K M Mani’s involvement in the crime. Reacting to Tuesday’s court verdict, he said the court has reinforced the people’s faith in the system. 

“There was an impression that any injustice or wrongdoing can be done in the name of politics. The verdict shows we can overcome corruption,” Biju, who was president of Kerala Bar Hotels Association at the time, said. Biju had dropped a political bombshell on the evening of October 31, 2014, claiming Mani had demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore, but settled for Rs 1 crore for reopening bars. 

The background was that 418 bars were closed in the state on March 31 that year after the government decided not to renew the licences. In just over a year, Mani, under severe pressure, was forced to step down as Finance Minister. Biju had then trained his guns on the then Excise Minister K Babu who subsequently lost the elections. 

Biju pointed out the UDF Government had replaced the special prosecutor with an officer who, he alleged, argued in Mani’s favour. “Even the court was convinced of Mani’s involvement. I see the court verdict as a gift to the people,” he said. The Vigilance had failed to present many pieces of evidence in court, a fact that was pointed out by the court, he said. “Vigilance officials tried to protect the accused and the court pointed out that too. There were many lapses on the part of the officers,” he said. In the 2016 Assembly elections, Biju Ramesh had contested on an AIADMK card in Thiruvananthapuram, but ended up fourth with 5,762 votes.


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