Thiruvananthapuram: In a setback to the UDF government, the Vigilance court Thursday ordered a re-probe into the bar bribery case.
Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge John K Illekadan declined to accept the final investigation report by Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau which had exonerated Mani stating there was no evidence to corroborate the charges that he demanded Rs five crore and accepted Rs one crore as bribe for renewal of licence to 470 Indian made foreign liquor bars in 2014.
The court observed that the final report was "not acceptable" and the matter was "remitted back to investigation officer for further probe".
Interestingly, the development came ahead of next month's civic polls in the state.
Reacting to the court verdict, Mani told reporters that he was ready to face any probe.
“I won’t resign in the wake of the court verdict,” he said.
In its report submitted before the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge John K Illekadan in June last, the vigilance had sought closure of the case against Mani.
The petitioners had sought a fresh probe into the case and quashing of the Vigilance closure report.
The Vigilance report stated there was no evidence to corroborate the charges levelled against Mani that he had demanded Rs five crore and accepted Rs one crore as bribe.
The case against Mani was registered on the basis of the charge by Working President of Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners Association Biju Ramesh, after Achuthanandan filed a complaint before the Vigilance, seeking a probe.
Ramesh had levelled the charges in November last and after a 'Quick Verification', Vigilance registered an FIR in the case.
The charge was that Mani had demanded Rs five crore and received Rs one crore from the Association for renewal of licence of 470 foreign liquor bars between March 20 and April 2, 2014.