Kerala bar scam: Now probe ordered against police official

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 5 (IANS) In a new twist to the Kerala bar scam, the UDF government on Friday ordered a probe against the vigilance officer who had investigated the scam after the ruling front sought the conspiracy angle in the recent allegations be checked.

A crime branch probe was ordered against Superintendent of Police, Vigilance, R.Sukesan after Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala gave his nod on basis of a report to this effect submitted by vigilance director N.Shankar Reddy.

Sukesan who was the probe officer in the bar scam which saw the resignation of state Finance Minister K.M.Mani last year and also led to the stepping down of Excise Minister K.Babu, whose resignation was however not accepted, following a relief from the Kerala High Court.

Based on the recommendation of the leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, after the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday, had told reporters that they will go forward to unravel the conspiracy behind the solar and bar scam.

The fresh probe that has been announced against Sukesan will look into his links with the whistleblower bar owner Biju Ramesh, who was the first person to level bribery allegations first against Mani in 2014 and against Babu in 2015.

Speaking to reporters, Ramesh said that he was expecting this vindictive action directed against him ever since he made the revelation.

“I knew this was round the corner as the government will move against me to see that I am put behind bars,” said Ramesh, who following the new liquor policy of closing more than 700 bars in the state had to close down nine of his bars in the state capital.

Babu, soon after announcing his decision to resign last month, had alleged that the entire bar scam was a conspiracy hatched by the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

Reacting to the move, CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan said it is done to target police officials who refuse to toe the line of the Chandy government and meant to threaten them.

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