Kerala HC stops media trial in Bar Scam case

Kerala High CourtKochi : Two days after the Vigilance Department submitted a report in the 2014 Bar Scam case to the Kerala High Court, the court on Friday ordered that there will be no further media trials in the case.

The Vigilance has started a probe into a leak involving its report exonerating former Kerala Finance Minister K.M.Mani, that was submitted to the court on Wednesday.

The case took a sudden twist on Wednesday, when the Vigilance report leaked in the media said “there was no substantial evidence against Mani” about him accepting a Rs one crore bribe in 2014.

In October 2014, bar hotel owner Biju Ramesh had alleged that Mani was paid the bribe for his promise to reopen all bars closed in the state following a new excise policy.

The Vigilance report on Mani found its way into the media. Soon a media trial was started on the “manner in which cases are being handled”.

It was following this that the high court ordered that from now on there should be no more media trial. It was angry on how the contents of the such a report found its way into the hands of the media.

The court on Wednesday, asked the Vigilance Department to submit its final report in another 45 days time and until then all sorts of discussions in the media was banned.

The Bar Scam case to a large extent discredited the previous Oommen Chandy government and Mani in particular.

Following a court remark in November 2015, Mani had to quit as Minister.

This was used as one of the biggest election campaign issue by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) during the May 2016 assembly polls, romping the LDF home and trouncing the Chandy-led Congress.

Mani, however, is tight-lipped and has refused to react. He said he “has nothing to say as the court is looking into it”.


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