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Bar bribery scam is not a closed chapter: Vigilance Director

Bar bribery scam is not a closed chapter: Vigilance Director

Thiruvananthapuram: The Bar bribery scam against former Finance and Law minister K M Mani was "not a closed chapter" and the Vigilance Bureau is hopeful of new evidence cropping up, Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas Sunday said.

However, he made it clear that there would be no witch-hunt.

Mani, heading Kerala Congress (M), the third largest party in the opposition Congress led UDF, had an unceremonious exit as Finance Minister from the previous Oommen Chandy government in the wake of the scam after the High Court made some adverse observations last year.

DGP Thomas, who heads the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, said the agency can initiate further probe in the case if new material evidence comes to light.

The agency was also examining the alleged corrupt transactions of the former excise minister K Babu, who is also facing charges in the bar scam.

"Further probe will be done in the case against Mani if we are sure to get conclusive evidences. Vigilance is waiting for such evidence. The eyes and ears of Vigilance are open," Thomas told in an interview.

Holding that the bar case was not a "closed chapter", Thomas said the Vigilance has got a clear picture on what it has to do in it.

"Vigilance has information that some of the witnesses, who were unable to speak the truth earlier due to various reasons, are now ready to give evidence supporting the charges", he said.

During the time of investigation, VACB had questioned 350 witnesses but they had not told the truth at that time, he said.

"But now, in the changed circumstances (after the LDF came to power), some of the witnesses may have realised that the accused is no more in power and so they will come out with evidences", the official said.

He also said it is possible for the agency to conduct a fresh inquiry holding that there were lapses or deficiencies in the previous probes.

"But I am of the view that it would be better to order a probe if Vigilance is sure that new evidence will be forthcoming", he said.

The Vigilance's stand assumes significance as the agency had given a closure report with a clean chit to Mani in the case after conducting two investigations during the tenure of the previous UDF government.

The report is now pending before a Vigilance Court here.

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