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Quick verification against minister Babu begins

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Quick verification against minister Babu begins
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Thrissur: The 'quick verification' ordered by a Vigilance court here against Excise minister K Babu, facing bribery allegations in the bar scam, will begin on Thursday.

The procedures will be led by Ernakulam range Vigilance officer Nishandini. The officers will start recording the statements of the complainants on Friday.

In a setback to Babu, the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thrissur, ordered 'quick verification' against him earlier in December last year.

The court also ordered quick verification against bar hotelier Biju Ramesh, who had alleged before the media that he had paid Rs 10 crore bribe to Babu to reduce the annual bar renewal licence fee from the proposed Rs 30 lakh to Rs 23 lakh.

The Vigilance director has been asked to submit a report to the court by January 23.

The order in this regard was issued on a petition by one George Pattukulam, seeking to conduct quick verification against the two and to arraign Babu as first accused and Biju Ramesh as second accused in the case.

Earlier, when Biju Ramesh, who is also General Secretary of Kerala bar hotel owners association had levelled charges that Babu had been paid a bribe of Rs 10 crore, vigilance had conducted a preliminary enquiry and concluded that there was no prima facie evidence against Babu to file an FIR.

Babu is the second minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet against whom bribery allegations had been levelled.

Recently, K M Mani, Kerala Congress(M) supremo had been forced to resign as Finance Minister after the High Court made stinging observations against him in the bar case.

The Vigilance court, Thiruvananthapuram, had submitted a quick verification report and an FIR had been lodged against Mani.

The opposition CPI-M led LDF has been demanding Babu's resignation also both inside and outside the state assembly.

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