Thiruvanthapuram: Mounting a grim attack on the Congress led UDF government in Kerala over bar bribery scam, CPI-M led LDF Opposition on Friday stalled assembly proceedings demanding resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani in the wake of Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau filing an FIR against him in the case.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Mani himself turned down the opposition demand resulting in slogan shouting and floating of banners by LDF members leading to adjournment of the House ahead of schedule by Deputy Speaker N Sakthan.
"The charges are false and I deny them", a visibly shaken 81-year-old Mani, leader of Kerala Congress(M), a key partner of UDF, said.
Coming to the defense of his colleague, Chandy said Mani would not have to resign under the political pressure of LDF.
"Mani has no special role in the Liquor policy as the decision to shut down bars below five-star category was taken by cabinet collectively", Chandy said.
Playing down the statements examined by investigators based on which the FIR was filed, Chandy sought to know where would things lead if every one had to resign on the basis of testimony given by a driver.
Chandy was referring to the statements and evidences given by the Working President of Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association Biju Ramesh, who leveled the bribery charge.
Asserting that Vigilance had not found Mani guilty, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala pointed out that a recent Supreme Court order had made it mandatory to register an FIR in such cases.
"The vigilance had not looked into the veracity of the statements given by the persons who levelled the charges", he said referring to the contention of CPI-M Deputy Leader in the assembly Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that 'FIR contained evidences to show that Mani had taken bribe.