Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau submitted a final report on the Bar Bribery case at the Vigilance court in Kochi, requesting cancellation of further action against former Excise Minister K Babu. The VACB, in their report filed by Vigilance Central Range Superintendent, claimed that there was no evidence to prove the allegations levelled against Babu.
The Vigilance department had filed a case against Babu in 2016 following a complaint by VM Radhakrishnan, who was the then President of the Kerala Hotel Industrial Association. The latter had alleged that Babu took Rs 100 Crore for issuing new bar licenses as well as to shut down liquor outlets close to the bars.
“Babu took action to quickly issue a license to some bars while keeping other requests pending. Moreover, he took a decision to favour the Kerala Bar Hotel Association owners’ interests and Babu misused his powers to shut down liquor outlets operating close to the bars of his friends and benames. Crores of rupees were collected every year to renew bar licenses through the Kerala Bar hotel association. Babu also issued an order restricting the issuance of bar license without his consent,” the complaint read.
The Vigilance investigation began in 2016, following the arrival of the new LDF government. The VACB started the investigation with just a quick perusal of the complaint, which also accused the former minister of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income, especially when he was the Excise Minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet of the UDF government. However, the detailed report submitted by the VACB noted that the allegations against Babu were baseless.