Kerala crime branch to probe leak of lie detector result in bribery case

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Kerala crime branch to probe leak of lie detector result in bribery case

Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Vigilance) Nalini Netto issued the order on the directions of Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Wed 27 May 2015, 9:36 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:26 PM

Trivandrum — Kerala’s Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government on Tuesday ordered a crime branch investigation into the alleged leak of the findings of a polygraph test conducted in connection with the bar bribery case.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Vigilance) Nalini Netto issued the order on the directions of Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala. The political decision followed strong displeasure expressed by Finance Minister K M Mani, who is facing graft charges in the case, over the media reports that the test conducted on Bar Hotel Owners Association working president Biju Ramesh’s car driver was positive.

The reports said that the test conducted on driver Ambili, a key witness in the case, had confirmed his earlier statement to the vigilance probe team that he had seen the minister accepting Rs.3.5 million as bribe from association president Rajkumar Unni at his official residence in the state capital.

Mani, who is the leader of the Kerala Congress (M), the third largest constituent of the ruling front, was angry over the reports in a section of the media that the vigilance had initiated the process for filing a chargesheet against him in the case.

Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has termed the probe as part of moves to put the vigilance under pressure. He said in a statement here on Tuesday that the government was trying to save Mani. He has urged the government to cancel the order.

Ramesh defended the crime branch probe saying that it was intended to protect the credibility of the anti-corruption body. He told reporters at Calicut that leaking details of the investigation was against the professional conduct of the investigating agency and it will ultimately affect its credibility.

Meanwhile, Mani’s party believes that the leakage of the report was part of the conspiracy against their leader.

They have pointed out that no such information were emanating from the investigation being conducted against Excise Minister K Babu, who has been accused of taking Rs.100 million as bribe for reducing the license fee of beer and wine parlours.

Curiously, the vigilance strongly opposed a petition filed by a witness in the case involving Babu, for a lie-detector test. A vigilance court at Trivandrum subsequently rejected the petition filed by Mohammed Rashid, who had claimed that he had seen Biju handing over a brief case containing Rs.5 million to the minister in his office chamber.

The KC (M) is understood to have informed the UDF leadership that inclusion of Mani’s name in the chargesheet will have serious repercussions. This implies a threat to dislodge the government, which is surviving on a majority of just three seats. With six members, KC (M) is in a position to bring down the government.



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