Thiruvananthapuram: Excise Minister K. Babu Tuesday denied Biju Ramesh’s charges in the bar bribery scam, saying that it was meant to create a smokescreen of suspicion against him.
“Biju’s allegations against me are baseless. He should make the allegation specific, mentioning at what time and in which place I had received the bribes from the bar owners,” Babu told reporters.
He alleged that the bar owner was trying to destabilise the government with the support of certain LDF Opposition leaders.
“It was part of a conspiracy to topple the Congress-led UDF government,” the minister said.
Terming the charges "baseless", Babu also released at a press conference an audio tape purportedly containing conversation between Ramesh and certain LDF leaders on the possibility of toppling the government.
Babu said the bar scam was a result of the hotelier's animosity towards the government and especially towards him as out of nine bar hotels owned by Ramesh, seven were closed following the new liquor policy.
"The huge loss of revenue following the government's new liquor policy led to Ramesh turning against the government," he said.
The minister also said he would file a defamation notice against Ramesh tomorrow.
Biju Ramesh, who levelled charges of bribery against Finance Minister and KC-M leader K M Mani, had told the media yesterday that he had made a statement before the magistrate against three Congress minister, including Babu, in connection with the bar scam.
The Congress-led UDF ministry has been under attack by CPI(M)-led LDF since the scam broke out last November.