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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightBook excise minister...

Book excise minister Babu for graft, demands Left

Book excise minister Babu for graft, demands Left

Thiruvananthapuram: The Left opposition in the state on Thursday demanded that a case be registered against Excise Minister K. Babu following a new revelation by whistleblower bar owner Biju Ramesh that a sum of Rs.10 crore was paid to him as bribe to reduce the annual licence fee for bars in the state.

It was in October 2014 that Ramesh first revealed that Rs.1 crore was paid to Finance Minister K.M. Mani. The state government then ordered a quick verification by the vigilance department and it was followed by a case registered against Mani.

Ramesh then alleged that it was not only Mani who had taken bribes but there were other ministers also. On March 30, he appeared before a magistrate and gave a statement.

A 30-page testimony by Ramesh that says Babu was given Rs.10 crore found its way to the hands of the media on Wednesday.

It says Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar also received money.

Both Babu and Sivakumar, however, were quick to deny ever having anything to do with Ramesh or the bar scam.

On Thursday, CPI-M state secretary and legislator Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the government should immediately order a probe against Babu, the way it did against Mani.

"The state government is playing a slow game now. They should immediately order a probe against Babu. Even after several months, the charge sheet is yet to be filed by the vigilance department on the probe against Mani," said Balakrishnan.

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