Vigilance may close bar bribery case against KM Mani

In the present context, there is no scope for the Vigilance director to prosecute the minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The bar bribery case against finance minister K.M. Mani, which has been rocking the state for long, is likely to be closed by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau in view of the legal opinion that there was no scope for prosecuting the minister with the available circumstantial evidence. But Opposition leader V. S. Achuthanandan, who was the original petitioner, and Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association working president Biju Ramesh, who had raised the allegation against the minister, are likely to challenge the closure.

According to Vigilance sources, the factual report filed by special investigation unit - I SP R. Sukesan had mentioned that there was enough circumstantial evidence to prove the allegations. However, the legal opinion is that it was not possible to prosecute the minister with the circumstantial evidence.

The opinion is being vetted by ADGP (Vigilance) Shaik Darvesh Saheb and it may reach Vigilance director Vinson M. Paul within a couple of days. In view of the differences in the opinions of the investigation officer and the legal advisor, the Vigilance director may seek further opinion of additional director of prosecution (Vigilance) G. Saseendran and even any other legal expert to take a final decision.

“In the present context, there is no scope for the Vigilance director to prosecute the minister. There is no scope for any further probe as the bar owners who allegedly paid the bribe to Mani had repeatedly denied it,” a Vigilance official said.

If the director decides to close the case, a closure report will have to be filed in the court of inquiry commissioner and special judge (Vigilance) here. The FIR against Mr Mani was filed in this court earlier.

( Source : dc correspondent )
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