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Gave bribes to Chennithala, Shivakumar: Biju Ramesh

Gave bribes to Chennithala, Shivakumar: Biju Ramesh

Thiruvananthapuram: In a fresh trouble for the UDF government in the state in the bar scam, hotelier Biju Ramesh has renewed his bribery charges against Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Health Minister V S Shivakumar.

Participating in a current affairs programme on a Malayalam television channel, Ramesh, working president of the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association, alleged Rs two crore were paid to Chennithala when he was KPCC chief in 2012 and Rs 25 lakh to Sivakumar.

He had earlier levelled bribery charges against former Finance Minister K M Mani and Excise Minister K Babu.

Mani, against whom an FIR was registered by the Vigilance, was forced to resign after the Kerala High Court made stinging observations against him.

Babu, too, tendered his resignation to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy after a Vigilance court ordered filing of an FIR and conduct of a probe.

However, he withdrew it after UDF requested him to do so following the High Court stay on the Vigilance Court order.

Ramesh alleged the amount was handed over to a personal secretary of Sivakumar at his residence, while it was directly given to Chennithala.

He said the amount was paid before the Neyyatinkara by by-election in early 2012.

Denying the charge, Shivakumar said no money was given to him or his private secretary by the bar hotelier.

He pointed out it was only in 2013 that the bribery charges were levelled by Ramesh while Neyyatinkara by-poll was held in early 2012.

"Neither me nor my personal staff have taken any money from anyone for the elections," he said.

Meanwhile, CPI leader and former state minister C Divakaran said the present allegations were more severe than the ones made earlier by Ramesh.

"There is need for political ethics," he said, adding the Governor should intervene in the matter.

Divakaran said the opposition would meet Governor P Sathasivam on February 3 prior to the commencement of the assembly session on February 5.

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