Thiruvananthapuram: Hotelier Biju Ramesh has come up with an allegation that CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had instigated him as well as other leaders of the Kerala Bar Hotels Association (KBHA) to press the allegations of corruption against then finance minister K.M. Mani and other leaders while the UDF was in power. The CPM leader even assured him that the LDF will take steps to resume functioning of all the bars closed by the UDF once the front came to power, Mr Ramesh told DC on Tuesday.
“The CPM state secretary met me at my residence at Fort here soon after the bar bribery allegations surfaced,” he said over phone. “Owners of some other bar hotels were also present when Mr Balakrishan gave us the assurance on facilitating reopening of all bars. But the CPM has not only ditched us but has been trying to use the case to whitewash Mr Mani and make him join the LDF.”
It may be recalled that the UDF had earlier raised a similar allegation of a secret meeting of LDF leaders and bar hotel owners at the house of CPM leader V. Sivankutty here to fabricate the bar bribery case against Mr Mani as well as former excise minister K. Babu. But the CPM had denied it. Mr Ramesh said more owners would be willing to give strong evidences against Mr Mani and others if the LDF assured them protection. “By compromising the bar bribery case for political motives, the LDF is not only ditching the bar owners, but the entire society that voted them to power believing their anti-corruption stands,” he said.
However, the fresh allegations could once again put the LDF on the defensive even if doubts were raised against the credentials of Mr Ramesh. The UDF may use the opportunity to counter that the entire bar bribery allegations were fabricated. The LDF is yet to react to the fresh allegations. Mr Ramesh said Mr Balakrishnan and other LDF leaders had used the documents and pieces of evidence, including the CD containing audio conversations, he provided to raise allegations of bribery against the UDF ministers.
He also said the bar owners had met other CPM leaders including Pinarayi Vijayan and V.S. Achuthanandan following Mr Balakrishnan’s assurance. Meanwhile, Kerala Congress (M) general secretary N. Jayaraj MLA said the revelation by Biju Ramesh has come in late. “We had repeatedly said during the initial stages that the bar bribe case was part of a preplanned script. Those who have written the script in the backdrop will come to into the light in the due course of time,” he said.