'Neither legal nor moral ground to file case against me'

Thiruvanthapuram, April 1: Beleaguered Kerala Fince Minister K.M. Mani, who is an accused in a bribery case, expressed his displeasure on Wednesday after the police did not proceed against three other ministers over the same allegations levelled by a whistleblower bar owner.“There is neither a legal nor moral ground to register a case against me over an allegation. If people suspect that there are different yardsticks in the same case, they should not be faulted. I am innocent and I have done no wrong,” Mani told reporters. Last year, bar owner Biju Ramesh alleged that Mani was given a bribe of Rs.1 crore for reopening the closed bars in the state. Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthandan wrote to the vigilance department demanding immediate action. After the Left opposition was up in arms, the government quickly gave its nod for a quick verification by the vigilance department, and a case was then registered against Mani. Mani was deeply upset over the way the state government let him down. His party said there was a political conspiracy behind ming him in the case. Ramesh on Monday gave a statement in court under section 164 of the Code of Crimil Procedure. He later told reporters that Kerala Excise Minister K. Babu was also bribed and so were two other state Congress ministers. Soon after Ramesh’s statement, Achuthandan wrote to the Vigilance demanding action against Babu and the two other ministers. The vigilance department on Wednesday wrote back to Achuthandan, saying the audio CD submitted by him - which allegedly had the mes of the ministers involved in the scam - was of poor quality and there was no evidence to take action against Babu. After news of this got out, Mani hit back at the way he was being “targeted”. “Our party suspects that there is a conspiracy against me and slowly it is unfolding. I will never say that a case should be registered against the other ministers also. But, undue haste was shown to register a case against me.  (IANS)

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