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Kerala graft case boiling over

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K.M. Mani

 

K.M. Mani
K.M. Mani

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala  called for a state-wide shutdown Tuesday demanding resignation of state Finance Minister K.M. Mani over a bribery allegation while the Left parties decided to boycott him.

While deciding to boycott all official functions of the beleaguered minister, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) also decided to stage a march Feb 3 to the state secretariat to press for Mani’s resignation.

With this, the entire opposition in Kerala has decided to mount pressure with protests against Mani after whistle-blower bar owner Biju Ramesh alleged in October last year that Rs.1 crore was given to Mani as the first instalment of the Rs.5 crore he had demanded for reopening bars in the state.

State BJP president V. Muraleedharan told reporters in the state capital after a party meet that the tainted Mani, facing allegations of corruption, will have to go.

“Apart from the bar graft allegations, he has made money by even manipulating the state budget. There is no way he can be allowed to continue. And, to protest, we will be organising a statewide shutdown on Tuesday,” said Muraleedharan.

At Thrissur, the LDF leaders’ meet decided to boycott all official functions being participated in by Mani.

“We will be marching towards the state secretariat on Feb 3. He has no place to go but to resign. We will not retract until he quits,” LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan told reporters in Thrissur.

CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said if Mani is going to present the state budget (March 13), the Kerala assembly will witness never-seen-before incidents.

But state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has made it very clear that Mani will be presenting the state budget and there is not going to be any change in that.

Early this week, Ramesh gave an audio recording of the conversation to the various TV channels that has since been aired.

On Thursday, he turned up before the vigilance department to give his statement.

“Ever since I started giving out evidence in the bar graft case, my life is in danger and I am writing to the chief minister that I be given police security. I will go forward in this issue and will see that the truth comes out,” said Ramesh.

 

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