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HC declines to monitor bar case probe

HC declines to monitor bar case probe

Kochi: The High Court Thursday declined to 'intrude' and monitor for now the process of investigation in the bar bribe scam in which state Finance Minister K M Mani is facing allegations of corruption, saying the probe is at a preliminary stage.

Justice P Ubaid declined the prayer by Anti-Corruption Human Rights Protection Committee of Palakkad and posted the matter for further hearing after a month.

"The investigation is in a preliminary stage. At this stage, the court cannot intrude in the process of investigation and monitor the case," the judge observed.

The scam pertains an allegation by a bar hotelier that hefty sum was paid to Mani for his help in reopening some of closed liqour bars in the state. Based on this, the government initially ordered a "quick verification' and later lodged an FIR for a detailed probe.

The court held that the sole ground raised by the petitioner was that the accused person was a Minister. This cannot be a reason to monitor the investigation at this stage.

The judge, however, said the petitioner can approach the court citing specific ground or when it finds some wrong in the investigation. "Now there is no reason to interfere in the process of investigation."

He also asked the petitioner's counsel why it has not arraigned Mani as a respondent in the writ plea.

The court wanted the petitioner to address it regarding the scope and extent of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution to intrude in the process of investigation and monitor the case.

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