Bar scam: Fund collected for building in Thiruvananthapuram, says Kerala hotel association president

According to him, the voice clip in which Animon makes bribery allegations was made right after his ouster from the association on Thursday.
MV Govindan.
MV Govindan. (Photo| Facebook)

KOCHI: Bar owner Animon’s audio clip soliciting funds in return for relaxation in liquor policy was part of a conspiracy and was made in retaliation of his ouster from the Federation of Kerala Hotel Association (FKHA), said its state president V Sunilkumar.

“The things had been simmering inside the association for quite some time with Animon even trying to make a parallel organisation,” Sunilkumar told TNIE. According to him, the voice clip in which Animon makes bribery allegations was made right after his ouster from the association on Thursday.

“Things that panned out into bar scam allegations began after the association requested everyone to pool in Rs 2.5 lakh to purchase an office building for the organisation in Thiruvananthapuram. Animon and some others were of the view that since the association already had a building in Kochi another one was not needed,” Sunilkumar said.

The association’s executive panel rejected their demands and decided to go ahead with the purchase. “Animon was miffed over the rebuff and the disciplinary action of the committee and resorted to spreading lies,” Sunilkumar said.

It is learnt that Animon had a few days ahead of the meeting sent representations to the chief minister and the ministers accusing the association of collecting money to bribe officials, he said. “We had been called up by the vigilance following the directives by the excise minister. We have shared all documents with the department,” said Sunilkumar.

He questioned the need for the association to resort to bribery. “As such everyone, both in the hotel and tourism industry, has been demanding the removal of dry days. It is something that is going to benefit not just us but others too. So why should we take the onus to bribe the officials? What’s the logic in that? That too when the government is getting ready to change the policy!” he asks.

Govt has not discussed liquor policy: Govindan

The CPM state secretary has rejected the allegations that there were discussions held on the liquor policy. At a press conference on Friday, party state secretary M V Govindan said those campaigns are not true. “The LDF or the government has not discussed the liquor policy. Yet fake things are being propagated,” he said. Govindan also alleged that the leader of the Opposition and KPCC president are propagating fake things after the Lok Sabha election. “The UDF thinks that the LDF government is also taking the same position they had taken at the time they were in power. The use of liquor has come down drastically compa-red to the UDF time,” he said.

IUML calls for resignation of excise minister

The IUML on Friday demanded the resignation of Excise Minister M B Rajesh in connection with the bar scam. IUML, which usually takes a soft stand on various issues related to the state government, was quick to respond to the issue. IUML state general secretary P M A Salam said a detailed probe should be conducted into the incident.

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