Kerala excise minister K Babu resigned on Saturday, January 23, 2016, after the state vigilance court ordered a case be filed against him in the bar licence renewal case. (Official website of Kerala Excise department)
Kerala excise minister K Babu resigned from his post after the state vigilance court ordered a case be filed against him on Saturday for allegedly seeking bribes in the bar licence renewal case.
State finance minister K M Mani had quit two months ago after the Kerala High Court passed strictures against him in the same case in which members of the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association accused both ministers of promising a favourable liquor policy in exchange for money.
The Kerala government had last year closed down all bars in the state other than those in five-star hotels citing a corruption of morality among youngsters. Lower rated bars were then forced to reapply for a license after an upgrade.
The vigilance court directed the state vigilance bureau to conduct a court-supervised probe and submit a report within a month. The court further directed that a case be filed against those association members who allegedly paid the bribe.
The court also pulled up the vigilance department for delaying its initial findings in the investigation, saying the department cannot make judiciary a mockery.
The vigilance department was to initially submit its findings on the charges by January 23. However, it delayed submitting a quick verification report, stating that it had submitted it to the Lok Ayukta and needed more time.
“Since Lok Ayukta is functioning do you think that the vigilance court has been closed? If the officials have some honesty, sincerity and commitment the report should have been filed within 10 days,” the court observed in a stern warning.