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Bar bribe row: V S Achuthanandan sticks to CBI probe

Bar bribe row: V S Achuthanandan sticks to CBI probe

Thiruvananthapuram: Striking a different note from the CPI-M's official stand, party veteran and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan Monday stuck to his demand for a CBI probe into bar owners' allegation that Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani had demanded a hefty sum as bribe for favourable decisions.

Taking a divergent stand from that of Achuthanandan, CPI-M state Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan Sunday made it clear that the party had not yet formed its view on the mode of probe it would prefer and cast doubts about the credibility of the central investigation agency.

Holding on to his position in the matter, Achuthanandan said in a statement that the CBI probe alone would be able to bring out the truth on the allegation as the state Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) might not be able to conduct an impartial probe against a senior minister in the state.

"CBI is the sole agency which is capable of interrogating Mani as well as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other ministers ...That is why I asked for a CBI probe and that is what the people of Kerala also wish," the nonagenarian leader said.

With the "bar bribe row" denting its image, the Congress-led UDF Government had yesterday asked the VACB to look into the bar owners' charge against Mani.

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala directed VACB Director to conduct a "quick verification" to ascertain if there was any substance in the allegation.

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