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Bar Scam: Excise Minister takes back resignation

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Thiruvananthapuram: K Babu, Kerala’s Excise Minister, who had resigned, took back his resignation on Sunday. A court had ordered a case against him for allegedly accepting a Rs 50 lakh bribe to permit bars to continue to function.

The opposition CPI-M termed it a “perfectly scripted act” by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Babu got a reprieve on Thursday when the Kerala High Courtput on hold the lower court directive.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership also asked former Finance Minister K M Mani, who quit in November last year over an allegation that he took a bribe from bar owners to reopen closed bars, to return as he too got a favourable order from the High Court.

However, Mani said he was “in no hurry to return”.

Talking to reporters in Kochi, Babu said “I became an MLA on a Congress ticket and then became a Minister in the UDF government headed by Oommen Chandyin 2011.

“As soon as my name surfaced in the Thrissur vigilance court about a baseless bribery allegation, without even waiting to read the judgment, I put in my papers and vacated my official residence and returned my official car.

“I also attended a farewell given to me by my staff, but today (Saturday), my party and the UDF said the situation that prevailed during my resignation no longer exists, hence I am taking back my resignation, because that’s what my party and the UDF wants,” Babu said.

Babu resigned on January 23, soon after the vigilance court ordered a case to be registered against him after the vigilance department asked for a month’s time to submit a verification report.

Whistleblower bar owner Biju Ramesh had earlier filed a complaint that he gave Babu Rs 50 lakh as bribe to permit bars to continue to function.

Earlier this week, on Babu’s petition, the High Court not only suspended the Thrissur vigilance court order for two months but also pointed out that the lower court appeared to be in a hurry, as the case was also being heard in the High Court.

Babu was forced to reconsider his decision at a leadership meeting of the UDF held at Chandy’s official residence on Saturday.

The UDF leadership meeting also asked Mani to return, but he refused.

“I am thankful to the UDF for reposing absolute faith in me, but at the moment, I am in no hurry to return. I will discuss this new request in my party,” Mani told reporters in Kottayam.

CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said what people were seeing was a “perfectly scripted act” by Chandy.

“He knows that he (Chandy) is tainted, so he wants Babu to return. The High Court has not exonerated either of them, it has only stayed the lower court’s order for two months,” said Balakrishnan.

The bar scam first surfaced in October 2014 when Ramesh alleged that the then Finance Minister Mani was given Rs 1 crore as bribe by Kerala’s bar owners to facilitate reopening of the 418 closed bars in the state. Later, he alleged Babu too had taken a bribe.(IANS)

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Kerala Unable to get Medics from Reserved Category

Kerala fails to get medics from reserved category

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Scheduled Caste Converts to Christianity (SCCC) category to fill up 25 posts for Assistant Surgeons/Casualty Medical Officer in Kerala. Pixabay

Unable to get qualified personnel from the Scheduled Caste Converts to Christianity (SCCC) category to fill up 25 posts for Assistant Surgeons/Casualty Medical Officer, the Kerala Public Service Commission has issued notification, third since December 2014, inviting applications for the posts.

The notification has been issued by the Health Service Department and the pay scale is Rs 45,800-89,000.

The notification, titled Third NCA Notification or Third No Candidate Available Notification, was issued on July 27, 2019, with last date of application as August 29.

The first NCA notification was issued on December 26, 2014, and the second on December 30, 2016.

The No Candidate Available notification was issued after the state public service commission first advertised for the post among SCCC candidates in November 2011.

The latest notification reads: “The above vacancies are now in existence. The ranked list published by the commission as per this notification will be valid until candidates are advised and appointed against the vacancies earmarked for SCCC community but remain unfilled due to the paucity of the candidates during the currency of the ranked list published on 25.03.2013 for the post (Category No.567/2012, Gazette Date:19.11.2012).

Kerala
In Kerala, No Candidate Available notification was issued after the state public service commission first advertised for the post among SCCC candidates in November 2011. Pixabay

“This is the third NCA notification, published due to the non-availability of sufficient candidates belonging to the SCCC community for the post as per first NCA notification dated 26.12.2014 (Category No. 597/2014) and second NCA notification dated 30.12.2016 (Category No. 485/2016).”

It also says: “Direct recruitment (from candidates belonging to SCCC community only).

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“Note: Applications submitted by candidates belonging to communities other than the SCCC community will be summarily rejected. No rejection memo will be issued to such applications.” (IANS)