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Bar bribery case: UDF backs Minister Babu

PTI Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 30, 2016

babu

Kerala Excise Minister K Babu, who had quit in the wake of vigilance court directing filing of FIR against him in the Bar bribery case, today withdrew his resignation soon after he got the full backing of the ruling Congress-led UDF.

The UDF, which met at Thiruvanathapuram this morning, decided to ask Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, not to accept the resignation of Babu, who also held the Port and Fisheries portfolios, as the High Court had stayed the vigilance court proceedings against him for two months.

Babu, a close confidant of Chandy, told reporters at Kochi that personally he was not keen on returning to the Cabinet, but as an obedient party worker he was compelled to withdraw his resignation.

“Though I am not interested in returning to the Ministership, I, as an obedient party worker, accept the decision taken by party leadership and UDF. In such a situation, I am compelled to withdraw my resignation,” Babu said.

The UDF meeting, held at Cliff House, the CM’s official residence, also expressed full confidence in the Chandy government, which was at the brink of a serious crisis after the vigilance court ordered that FIR be lodged against Chandy and Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed, following bribery allegations against them by Saritha S Nair, prime accused in the Solar scam.

It also wanted former Finance Minister K M Mani, who had resigned after stinging observations from the High Court in the bar bribery case, to come back to the Cabinet, UDF convener P P Thankachan told reporters.

However, Mani, who did not attend today’s meeting, said he was in no hurry to return to the Cabinet.

He also thanked the UDF for reposing faith in him and said he would take a suitable decision after consultations with his party.

Alleging that a conspiracy had been hatched by CPI—M and a section of the liquor lobby to topple the government, Thankachan said Saritha’s depositions before the Justice Sivarajan commission, probing the scam that she had paid Rs 1.90 crore to a close aide of Chandy and Rs 40 lakh to Mohammed were part of this.

It was also noted at the meeting that Saritha herself had alleged earlier that she had been offered Rs 10 crore by the CPI—M as bribe to speak out against the government and the Marxist party had not so far denied it, he said.

Published on January 30, 2016
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