Temporary relief for Mani, Kerala HC rejects plea to register FIR

In some relief to state Finance Minister KM Mani, who is at the centre of a bar bribe row, the Kerala High court on Wednesday rejected a plea for registration of an FIR against him.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 03, 2014, 17:35 PM IST

Kochi: In some relief to state Finance Minister KM Mani, who is at the centre of a bar bribe row, the Kerala High court on Wednesday rejected a plea for registration of an FIR against him.

A Division Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, while disposing of petitions by LDF convenor Vaikom Vishwam and CPI MLA VS Sunil Kumar, directed Vigilance Director to take independent decision in accordance with statutory provisions within one week of receipt of the preliminary report.

Advocate General K P Dandapani assured the court that preliminary inquiry report will be filed by Monday.

The bench also asked the vigilance director not to place the report before the government.

"The director need not follow the guidelines of vigilance manual. But shall follow the statutory provisions contained in the CrPc," the bench held.

The petitioners had complained about non-registration of crime against Mani.

Alleging that Vigilance's quick verification against Mani, was a 'farce', the LDF convenor and CPI MLA had moved the court in separate PILs seeking to draw up an FIR and register crime against the minister.

The LDF also sought setting up of a SIT to probe the case and wanted court to monitor the same.

The quick verification done by vigilance was a 'farce'. "Refusal to forward report within the prescribed time amounts to abdication of statutory duties," LDF convenor Vaikom Vishwam stated.

The attempt of the government not to register crime on the allegations made by Kerala Bar Owners Association's working president, Biju Ramesh, under the guise of preliminary inquiry, is 'highly deplorable', it was stated.

The bench also declined the prayer to monitor investigation at this stage.