In a major setback to the Vigilance Department, the Kerala High Court on Friday observed that there was nothing wrong in the Vigilance Court verdict that ordered a re-probe into the bar bribery case in which Finance Minister K.M. Mani is the prime accused.
“Prima Facie there is no evidence to prove that there was any drawback in the Vigilance Court verdict,” the HC observed, adding that the case cannot be extended needlessly.
A judgement on the petition would be pronounced on Monday after a detailed hearing, the court added.
The court also criticised the Vigilance Director’s intervention into investigation officer SP R. Sukesan’s report.
The High Court was considering a petition filed by the ADGP, Vigilance, on Friday seeking stay on the Vigilance Court verdict to conduct re-probe into the bar bribery case.
”It was wrong on the part of the court to question the authority of the Vigilance Director. Investigation
officer of the case SP Sukesan’s factual report was not part of the case diary. It was also not right to give the report to the media,” the petitioner contended. The Vigilance Court in Thiruvananthapuram ordered a re-probe into the case citing prima facie evidence to prove that Mani received kickback towards granting permission to 418 bars to reopen after they were shut down as part of the liquor policy of the UDF government.
There was evidence, which proved that Mani had received bribe twice on March 22 and April 2 in 2014, the court observed.
Major blow to UDF
Meanwhile,CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the HC observation was a major blow to the UDF government.
Accusing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of siding with Mani, Kodiyeri said that Chandy was scared that his ministry would fall if Mani was to resign.