Audio clip on plot to topple Kerala govt goes viral
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan allegedly played an important role in the conspiracy against the UDF govt.
Trivandrum - In the clippings, produced by Biju before a court as evidence for paying bribe to former finance minister K M Mani.
The Communist-led opposition in Kerala has found itself in a spot with an audio clipping suggesting a conspiracy with bar owners to pull down the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government becoming public on Monday.
The clippings contain the sound track of Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association (KBHA) working president, Biju Ramesh speaking at a meeting of the association at Cochin about an assurance given by senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders to reopen 418 bars closed by the UDF government as part of its phased prohibition policy if they came to power in the state.
In the clippings, produced by Biju before a court as evidence for paying bribe to former finance minister K M Mani for facilitating the reopening of the closed bars, Biju is heard asking the members whether they were ready to pull down the government.
He claimed that he had got an assurance about reopening the closed bars from CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. He further informed the meeting that Kodiyeri had discussed this with politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan and the UDF government could be brought down if former chief minister V S Achuthanandan too agreed to reopen the closed bars.
Biju also revealed in the meeting that Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) superintendent of police R Sukesan, who investigated the bribery allegation against Mani, was against the government and he had asked him to implicate four more ministers in the bar bribery scam. Biju had later levelled bribery charges against Excise Minister K Babu, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Health Minister V S Sivakumar. VACB Ernakulam range SP
R Nishanthini, who conducted a quick verification into the allegations against Babu, has submitted her final report in the court on Monday, saying there was no evidence to register a case against the minister. The government has already ordered a Crime Branch probe against Sukeshan, who had in his factual report, recommended prosecution of Mani on the charge of receiving bribe of Rs2.5 million from bar owners. However, the then Vigilance Director Vincent M Paul rejected his recommendation, saying that the CD could not be accepted as evidence for prosecuting Mani. Ironically, current Vigilance Director Shankar Reddy recommended the probe against Sukeshan on the basis of the same CD.
The CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has denied Biju's claim that he had given an assurance to him regarding reopening of the bars. He told reporters here on Monday that he had asked him to provide more evidence to help the opposition pursue the allegation.
He said the opposition was ready to face any investigation in the case if the government disclosed the entire contents in the CD and registered cases against all those mentioned in it. He pointed out that the opposition had made its stand on prohibition clear early and it would review the current government's policy if they come to power.
Biju Ramesh has also challenged the government to disclose the entire CD. He said that the government was leaking edited version of the CD to suit its purpose. He reiterated that the CPM state secretary had promised to consider reopening the bars if they could prove corruption charges against the ministers.