Bar bribery case: VACB gets notice on Sara Joseph plea

She also alleged attempts by VACB officials to scuttle the probe

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance) here sent a notice to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau on Thursday on a petition seeking registration of a case against Excise Minister K. Babu and his private secretary R. Suresh Pai in connection with the allegation of taking bribe from bar owners.

The court admitted the petition filed by writer and Aam Aadmi Party state head Sara Joseph in this regard and posted it for further proceedings on December 30.

The petitioner alleged that the VACB, which conducted a quick verification into the bribery allegations against Mr Babu by bar owner Biju Ramesh, had not registered a case in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines in the Lalita Kumari case as well as the Vigilance manual.

The contradicting stands of the VACB in the quick verification report against Finance Minister K.M. Mani and the one on Mr Babu (which was reported by Deccan Chronicle the other day) was also pointed out in the petition.

According to the petitioner, the Lalita Kumari case directives as well as Vigilance manuals warrant the registration of a case once an offence of cognizable nature comes to light.

She also alleged attempts by VACB officials to scuttle the probe. “All that the inquiry officer needed to do both as per Lalita Kumari case and the Vigilance manual was to inquire if an offence is made out and not to inquire if prima facie evidence exists,” she said.

It may be recalled that the VACB Ernakulam unit had conducted a preliminary inquiry into the allegations against Mr Babu and recommended that there was no need for further probe.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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