Another Kerala minister faces corruption charge

Thiruvananthapuram : The number of ministers facing graft charges in Kerala has gone up to seven with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) giving the nod for the prosecution of Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash (in pic) in a corruption case.

Prakash found a place in the list of tainted ministers after VACB director Shankar Reddy rejected a vigilance investigation team’s report to write off the case pertaining to bribe of Rs 25 lakh he demanded during his previous term as food minister in the 2005-06 UDF Ministry led by Oommen Chandy for sanctioning a ration depot in Kozhikode.

The complainant in the case was Congress leader N K Abdurahman, who alleged that he was denied license for the ration depot after he refused to pay the bribe demanded by the minister and his private secretary. Consequent to the complaint, a case was registered by the vigilance and five persons, including Prakash, were chargesheeted.

 However, the then VACB director Desmond Netto ordered a reinvestigation into the case on a petition by Prakash, who is the first accused in the case. The high court stayed the vigilance director”s order saying that the vigilance director could not order such a probe without the sanction of the court.

 The vigilance director”s decision confounds the woes of the ruling Congress-led UDF, which is battling a slew of corruption cases in solar and bribery scams.

The ministers facing the graft charges include Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed and Excise Minister K Babu.

 While one minister (K M Mani) has already resigned over the bar bribery scam, K Babu is holding on to power on the basis of a high court order, staying a vigilance court direction to register a case against him.

 Though the vigilance investigation has given clean chit to both the ministers, the court has still not accepted the vigilance final report.

A vigilance court at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday posted the case involving Mani for further hearing on March 5. The cases against both were initiated over a bar owner”s allegation that they had demanded bribe for favouring their business.                         —PTI

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