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Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) will look into the allegations of corruption levelled by bar owners against Finance Minister K.M. Mani over reopening of closed bars.
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan had written to the Vigilance director demanding that a case be registered against Mr. Mani. The Home Minister told reporters here on Sunday that the VACB would examine all the points raised by Mr. Achuthanandan.
‘‘Whether a case has to be registered will be decided after a preliminary examination. The Vigilance director will decide who the investigators are and ascertain who all will come within the scope of the investigation,’’ he said.
Later speaking in Kochi, he said only a court and not the government could order an inquiry by the Vigilance wing. Businessman Biju Ramesh, who had raised the allegation against Mr. Mani, had not sought police protection, Mr. Chennithala said.
Asked to comment on the response by T.N. Prathapan, MLA, on the issue, Mr. Chennithala said, ‘‘Let him ensure that he will not feel isolated. He should know that there is a government at work here.’’
A legal step: CM
Special Correspondent writes from Kottayam: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the preliminary examination instituted against Mr. Mani is part of the government’s commitment in completing all legal steps with regard to the issues concerned.
Speaking to media persons who met him here on Sunday, Mr. Chandy said all the issues involved would be examined. The Home Minister had made the official statement in this regard, he said. However, the Chief Minister held that no one would believe the charges levelled against Mr Mani.
Meanwhile, Government Chief Whip and Kerala Congress (M) vice president P.C. George welcomed the move and added that the government was bound to fulfil its constitutional responsibilities. Mr. Achuthanandan had filed a complaint before the Vigilance director and the present preliminary examination was to complete the process, he said.
Mr. Mani himself had called for an inquiry into the conspiracy, Mr. George pointed out.
In a related but separate development, activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) took out a march to the residence of Mr. Mani at Pala on Sunday morning demanding his resignation from the Cabinet. Nearly 50 DYFI activists, who participated in the march, were blocked by the police more than 100 m away from the residence and later taken into custody and released.
The activists of Sangh Parivar organisations had staged a similar protest march on Saturday evening.
From: The Hindu