Kochi: The Kerala High Court today stayed the proceedings against Working president of Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association Biju Ramesh before the Lokayukta in the bar-bribery case allegedly involving Finance Minister KM Mani.
Admitting a writ petition filed by Ramesh seeking to quash proceedings against him before the Lokayukta, Justice PR Ramachandra Menon ordered to keep all further proceedings against the petitioner in abeyance until further orders.
Ramesh, who was also named as a respondent along with Mani in the complaint filed before the Lokayukta, had approached the High Court seeking to quash the proceedings against him.
Ramesh submitted that the proceedings before the Lokayukta is not maintainable in view of vigilance probe on the same issue. The Lokayukta cannot conduct a parallel probe while an inquiry by a police officer regarding a crime is going on, he submitted.
The Court said there is force in the contention by the petitioner that if the proceedings in the Lokayukta continued, that will have an adverse effect on the vigilance probe.
He contended that the complaint before the Lokayaukta was filed by one Khalid Mundappalli of Kochi at the instance of Mani. Mundappalli did not produce sufficient materials to establish the points raised by him before the Lokayukta, he submitted.
Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had registered a case against Mani in December last year in connection with the allegation that he had accepted bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licences. The allegations were levelled by Biju Ramesh.