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Nothing to hide in alleged graft case, says Oommen Chandy

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Kannur (Kerala), Nov 4 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Tuesday his government has “nothing to hide or fear” in one of his ministers allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.1 crore to allow 418 bars to operate.

Speaking to reporters here, Chandy said V.S.Achuthanandan had earlier demanded for a probe by the vigilance department into the alleged graft case.

“We immediately ordered a vigilance probe, but he now wants the CBI to probe the issue. This shows he has gone back on his demand,” Chandy said.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani came under a cloud when the Bar Hotel Owners Association working president Biju Ramesh alleged that he has taken Rs.1 crore as bribe to ensure that the 418 bars ordered to be closed are allowed to operate.

“He thought that we will not consider his first request. We have nothing to fear or hide on this issue. If he desires a CBI probe, let him give a letter (demanding the same),” said Chandy.

This has now become the latest issue to hit the Chandy government, but Chandy stands firm that this is a baseless allegation.

State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala took this opportunity to hit back at the CPI-M and said it was surprising the CPI-M was divided over the type of probe it wanted in the case.

“While Achuthanandan is demanding a CBI probe, politburo member M.A. Baby wants a judicial probe and their party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan says they want a probe by the local police,” said Chennithala.

Meanwhile, the home department is expected to announce the vigilance team Tuesday to probe the matter.

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