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Kerala liquor bar: Bar owners' body leader accuses minister of taking bribe

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Kerala bar: State minister accused
Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 1: Liquor bar controversy in the southern state of Kerala took a new twist after Biju Ramesh, a bar owner and a leader of the bar hotel owners' association alleged that he had paid Rs 1 crore as bribe to the state finance minister, KM Mani, to help renew bar licences.

Also read: Kerala: Chandy defends finance minister over graft allegation

Biju told a news channel on Friday that the minister of the UDF government had sought Rs 5 crores as bribe to reopen 418 bars in the state after they were shut on grounds of quality. He said the money was paid some months ago but after the state Congress chief VM Sudheeran said he would not allow renewal of licences, Mani told the bar owners that he would not take the rest amount for he was helpless before the state chief's firm stand.

Mani, a Kerala Congress leader, said it was an attempt to malign him and sought a probe into what he termed a political conspiracy.

Congress leader TN Prathapan, who was also participating in the same programme where Biju made the allegations, said that he wasn't aware of such matter and that the matter should be probed.

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