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Kerala excise minister Babu resigns, court orders case against him in bar scam

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s Excise Minister K. Babu on Saturday handed over his resignation to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, after a court ordered a case against him for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.50 lakh to permit closed bars to continue to function.

Babu said it was the “result of a conspiracy” hatched by the opposition CPI-M and a section of the bar owners.

Babu’s resignation came soon after the Thrissur 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 following a complaint by whistle-blower bar owner Biju Ramesh that he bribed Babu to permit bars to continue to function.

“All this while, I did not reveal what transpired that led to this situation in the court today.

“It was at a meeting held at the residence of CPI-M legislator V. Sivankutty on December 15, 2014, in which present CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and a few bar owners decided to level this allegation against me,” Babu told reporters at a hurriedly called press meeting here.

The bar scam surfaced in October 2014 when Biju Ramesh alleged that the state’s then finance minister K.M. Mani was given Rs.1 crore as a bribe by Kerala’s bar owners to ensure reopening of the 418 closed bars in the state.

“It was on October 31, 2014 that Biju Ramesh, who owns nine bars in the capital city, first made an allegation against then state finance minister K.M. Mani.

“On that day, there was no mention of my name. But it was only after this meeting with CPI-M leaders where the conspiracy was hatched against me, Ramesh first raised the allegation against me,” said Babu.

He said he was not present in court on Saturday, and only heard about it from the media.

“I have always made my position very clear on this, ever since this allegation by the bar owner first surfaced. I had then said I will not latch on to technical grounds, instead I will take a moral call.

“I am yet to know the details of what transpired in the court today. I heard it from the media, when I was taking part in a function of the test run of the Kochi Metro and I immediately told the chief minister that I am resigning,” said Babu.

Babu hoped the “truth will come out one day”.

“I will continue to fight this legally and am sure the truth will come out one day, because till this moment, there is no case against me and there is not a single evidence against me. I have been a legislator for the past 25 years and my electorate here knows me well,” Babu said.

CPI-M state secretary Balakrishnan denied any conspiracy.

“The CPI-M has nothing to do with this case and what Babu said is baseless,” he said.

Ramesh said that even though he met Balakrishnan and Sivankutty, he did not visit Sivankutty’s home on December 15.

“For 41 days after the death of my father, I have not moved out of my home. I did not go to the residence of Sivankutty on December 15,” said Ramesh.

Mani had quit in November last year, after the high court gave the nod for a further probe as asked by the vigilance court.

As per the state’s new liquor policy, it has been decided that the nearly 700 bars in the state should be closed as part of the total prohibition plan.

On December 29, the Supreme Court upheld the liquor policy where only 27 five star hotels will be able to serve liquor. (IANS)(Photo: www.thequint.com)

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Anna Hazare to initiate mass awakening through his Jan-Jagran Yatra

The prime motive of his new organization is to carry out a Jan-Jagran Yatra throughout the country to awaken the masses

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Hazare is said to follow the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and aims to root out corruption from the country.
Hazare is said to follow the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and aims to root out corruption from the country. Wikimedia Commons

Once again Anna Hazare has come into the forefront to put resistance to the every growing mismanagement at the administrative level. Hazare is said to follow the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and aims to root out corruption from the country.

According to the media report by PTI, social activist Anna Hazare has come up with his new 20-member `National Core Committee’ ahead of his March 23 agitation in Delhi. Hazare has aimed to expand his party up to 40-50 members.

Also Read: BJP Protests Outside Sisodia’s Residence, Demands Kejriwal’s Resignation

The prime motive of his new organization is to carry out a Jan-Jagran Yatra throughout the country to awaken the masses.

Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

All the party members hail from various states of the country. In a move to curb any wrongdoing on any one’s behalf, everyone in the party is made to sign affidavits stating that they would never join a political party or contest elections.

He also asserted on the point that, he doesn’t want anyone from his new party to turn out like Arvind Kejriwal and thus he has made every member of the core group to sign the affidavit.

Also Read: Delhi government employees to observe 5-minutes silence as protest every day

In the coming days, Anna Hazare will be protesting in Delhi for raising the issue of “competent Lokpal” and to highlight farmer’s problems.

Anna Hazare came to light in 2011, when he raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. It was only after this; Kejriwal associated himself with Hazare and grabbed the opportunity to launch him into elections and launched the Aam Aadmi Party.

The members list as per PTI report includes Akshaykumar (Odisha), Commander Yashwant Prakash (Rajasthan), Colonel Dinesh Nain (Delhi), Manindra Jain (Delhi), Vikram Taparwada (Rajasthan), Dasharath Kumar (Rajasthan), Karanveer Thaman (Punjab), Praveen Indian (Uttar Pradesh), Sunil Fauji (Uttar Pradesh), Gauravkant Sharma (Uttar Pradesh), Rakesh Rafiq (Uttar Pradesh), P N Kalki (Uttar Pradesh), Sushil Bhatt (Uttarakhand), Bhopal Singh Chaudhary (Uttarakhand), Naveen Jaihind (Haryana), Shivaji Khedkar (Maharashtra), Kalpana Inamdar (Maharashtra), Ram Naik (Karnataka), Serfi Flago (Arunachal Pradesh) and Sunil Lal (Uttar Pradesh).