Thiruvananthapuram: The government has ordered a preliminary vigilance probe into the allegations of bribery levelled by liquor bar owners against finance minister K M Mani over reopening closed bars.
Talking to the media about the government decision on Sunday, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said that the order for a preliminary investigation was following a letter by Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan to the Vigilance Director seeking a probe into the allegations.
Chennithala added that it was just a procedural norm that a demand of the Opposition leader is accepted if that is related to the functioning of the government.
The government had on Saturday dismissed the allegations as 'baseless' even as opposition CPI-M demanded a judicial probe.
Mani, a leader of Kerala Congress(M), a key constituent of ruling Congress-led UDF, also rejected the charges as "baseless" and suspected "ulterior motives".
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also said the charges were "totally baseless", after the working President of Kerala Bar Owners Association and a bar owner Biju Ramesh alleged in a section of the media that Mani had taken Rs. one crore and demanded Rs. five crore to reopen 418 closed bars.