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Bar bribery: Mani sues Biju Ramesh, seeks Rs 10 crore in damages

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani on Wednesday filed a defamation case seeking Rs 10 crore in damages against whistle-blower bar owner Biju Ramesh who had accused him of accepting Rs 1 crore for re-opening shut down bars.

On November 12, 2014, Mani sent a notice asking Ramesh to call a press conference to publicly apologise and withdraw the allegation against him.

Ramesh, who owns a string of bar hotels in the state capital, had alleged that Mani was given Rs 1 crore by the Bar Owners Association to re-open the 418 shut down bars.

Following the allegations, Mani has come under heavy onslaught from the Left opposition who demanded that the veteran 81-year-old legislator, who has won every election since 1965, quit as minister and face trial.

A case has also been registered against Mani by the Vigilance department and a probe is currently on. Now all eyes were on Friday when he is scheduled to present his 13th state budget.

“Under no circumstance are we going to allow Mani to step into the assembly on Friday. Each and every entrance to the assembly will be cordoned off by our workers. He has no moral right to present the budget,” said CPM legislator V Sivankutty, who said that a mediator of Mani had contacted Biju Ramesh seeking withdrawal of the bar bribery case against the minister.