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Bar bribery scam 'a political conspiracy,' says Congress minister K Babu

Kochi: Kerala's Excise Minister K Babu, who is facing heat over the bar bribery scandal, on Friday alleged that a "political conspiracy" was hatched at a CPI(M) MLA's residence last December to target the UDF government over the issue.

"A deliberate political conspiracy was hatched at a CPI (M) MLA's residence on 15 December last year (to target the UDF government) over the bar bribery episode," Babu told a TV channel in Kochi.

 Bar bribery scam a political conspiracy, says Congress minister K Babu

K Babu. Image: Facebook

The Minister, however, did not disclose who was involved in the conspiracy against the UDF government.

Babu, a close confidante of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, also said he was not "scared" of Kerala Congress (M) chief KM Mani, who on Thursday claimed that the allegation against Babu in the bar bribery matter was direct, while in his case it was "hearsay".

Babu, a Congress minister, said Mani is a senior leader and he would never make any attempt to weaken the Congress-led UDF government in the state.

Babu claimed that those who have levelled bribe allegations against him have given "contradictory statements" to the probe agency Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau which exonerated him after the preliminary investigation into the case.

Mani, who had tendered his resignation on Tuesday after pressure mounted from UDF for his stepping down in the bar bribery scandal, had said "the allegation against me was hearsay. But in this case, he (Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association Working President Biju Ramesh) said he has
directly given the money. I cannot make any comment about that."

Mani's remarks targeting Babu came on Thursday after the hotelier had come out saying that he was prepared to furnish evidence of bribery charges against the Excise Minister.

Asked whether he was scared of Mani, Babu shot back, saying, "Why should I be scared of Mani? ... Mani has clearly said he would never make any attempt to weaken the UDF."

Babu also noted that Mani himself had said that he had not said anything against him.

Biju Ramesh, who had first raised the allegations of bribery charges against Mani, finally culminating in his resignation, has trained his guns on Babu renewing his charge that Rs 10 crore was given to the Excise Minister for renewal of licences of liquor bars.

PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2015 15:27:03 IST