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Vigilance takes Mani's statement in bar case

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Vigilance takes Manis statement in bar case
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Thiruvananthapuram: A Vigilance team probing the bar bribe scam Friday night took a statement from Finance Minister K M Mani, against whom an FIR has been filed in the Vigilance court in Thrissur.

Mani, supremo of Kerala Congress (M), a coalition partner in the ruling UDF, was given a questionnaire by the vigilance, official sources said.

The FIR was registered by the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau on the basis of a complaint by opposition leader V S Achuthanandan after an initial probe found prima facie evidence against the Minister.

Achuthanandan had filed the complaint following charges made by Biju Ramesh, Working President of the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association in November last year that Rs 1 crore had been paid as bribe to Mani for favourable decisions on re-opening of closed bars.

Even though both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Mani had denied the allegations, the opposition has been demanding Mani's resignation and launched a series of agitations.

Opposition LDF had also tried to prevent Mani from presenting the state budget on April 13 in the Assembly, triggering unprecedented violence in the House.

Biju Ramesh also later alleged that state Excise Minister K Babu had also been paid bribe. A quick verification on the allegation against Babu is on.

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