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Court orders probe against K. Babu, Biju Ramesh in bar bribery case

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Court orders probe against K. Babu, Biju Ramesh in bar bribery case
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Thrissur: In a setback to Excise minister K Babu, facing bribery allegations in the bar scam, a Vigilance court here Wednesday ordered 'quick verification' against him.

The court also ordered quick verification against bar hotelier Biju Ramesh, who had alleged before the media that he had paid Rs 10 crore bribe to Babu to reduce the annual bar renewal licence fee from the proposed Rs 30 lakh to Rs 23 lakh.

The Vigilance director has been asked to submit a report to the court by January 23.

The order in this regard was issued by the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thrissur, on a petition by one George Pattukulam, seeking to conduct quick verification against the two and to arraign Babu as first accused and Biju Ramesh as second accused in the case.

Earlier, when Biju Ramesh, who is also General Secretary of Kerala bar hotel owners association had levelled charges that Babu had been paid a bribe of Rs 10 crore, vigilance had conducted a preliminary enquiry and concluded that there was no prima facie evidence against Babu to file an FIR.

Babu is the second minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet against whom bribery allegations had been levelled.

Recently, K M Mani, Kerala Congress(M) supremo had been forced to resign as Finance Minister after the High Court made stinging observations against him in the bar case.

The Vigilance court, Thiruvananthapuram, had submitted a quick verification report and an FIR had been lodged against Mani.

The opposition CPI(M) led LDF has been demanding Babu's resignation also both inside and outside the state assembly.

Meanwhile, reacting to the development, Home minister Ramesh Chennithala and Babu said they were yet to get the court order.

Chennithala said "let me get the order. It is proper to react after that."

Babu said he was unaware of the case details in Thrissur court.

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