Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday defended Finance Minister K.M Mani, saying that the allegations against the latter were unfortunate and baseless.
"This is a baseless allegation levelled by the businessman. He (businessman) said that he came and told me about this graft. Such a thing has never taken place and I wish to ask him to reveal when, where and with whom did he come and meet me," Chandy told reporters.
Chandy said each and every Keralite knows Mani very well.
"Let him (Ramesh) say more things because I always meet people openly. Since my name has been dragged into this, let him give more details. I can say with conviction that the allegations levelled against Mani are baseless and there is no need for a probe. I know this is false," he said.
Chandy also took serious exception to Congress MLA T N Prathapan's remark that Mani should explain the charges.
"In my view, what Prathpan did was a serious mistake. If he had anything to say, he should have brought it to my attention," he said.
Refuting the charges, K. M Mani told reporters that he is shocked why baseless allegations are being levelled against him.
"If our party detractors feel that they can silence me and my party through such baseless allegations, then they are wrong. I feel there is some sort of conspiracy behind this and it needs to be probed," said Mani.
On Friday night, bar hotel owners representative Biju Ramesh had alleged that Mani, chairman of Kerala Congress (M), had sought Rs 5 crore for renewing the bar licence.
He said Mani was paid Rs 1 crore in two installments, but the rest of the amount was not paid.
Significantly, KC (Mani) vice-chairman P C George had said Biju Ramesh was being instigated by Chandy to stain Mani's reputation.
Referring to George’s remark, Mani said “I do not believe the Chief Minister is behind the allegations”.
Seizing on the matter, CPI-M politburo member M A Baby termed the charges as very serious and demanded a judicial probe into the matter.