K Babu terms Vigilance findings against him baselesstext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: Former state Excise Minister K Babu has termed baseless the findings of the Vigilance and Anti- Corruption Bureau against him regarding corruption in awarding bar licenses and forming policies in this regard during the previous Congress-led UDF government.
Reacting to the Vigilance findings listed in the FIR filed against him, Babu said he had not gone against the norms to issue licenses to bars. “Permission to bear-wine parlors was not a personal decision. The accusation that I stepped into the authority of Excise Commissioner is baseless,” he said at a press conference here on Saturday.
“The licenses were issued based on the liquor policy of the UDF government. The High Court rule in the case related to the closing of bars was in favour of the UDF government. The Vigilance report is a ple-planned tale,” the Congress leader said adding he would face the accusations legally.
The Vigilance earlier in the week registered a case against Babu in connection with alleged corruption in awarding bar licenses. The case was registered after a quick verification found out that "there was prima facie corruption".
The Vigilance Director had last month ordered the quick verification on the basis of complaints submitted by Kerala Hotel Industrialist Association that the former minister had conducted "blatant abuse of power and corrupt practices."
"It was found in the preliminary inquiry that there was prima facie corruption.
"Corruption and irregularities have been found in various things including in awarding bar licenses, in the closure of beverages corporation outlets and setting the departments norms and policies in this regard," the sources told PTI.
The mandatory criteria were not followed in the closure of beverage outlets and the minister "illegally" intervened into the matter, the sources added.
This is the second vigilance case in the bar scam against Babu, who had unsuccessfully contested from Tripunithura in the May 16 assembly polls.
Babu had resigned as excise minister on January 23 this year in the wake of a Vigilance court directing filing of an FIR against him in the bar bribery case, on the allegation by hotelier Biju Ramesh that he had accepted Rs 10 crore as bribe for renewal of licences of bars.
He made a return into the Oommen Chandy cabinet on February 1 after the High Court stayed the order.