The Kerala High Court today set aside a vigilance court order dismissing a corruption complaint against state Finance Minister K M Mani over alleged provision of ‘illegal’ tax benefits to a poultry trading company and an ayurvedic medicine manufacturer.
Revising the order of Vigilance Court, Kottayam, the High Court directed it to reconsider the petition filed by Noble Mathew, an advocate.
He had earlier filed a complaint against Mani before the Vigilance Court in Kottayam, alleging that Mani received bribe from them for giving the tax discount.
The Vigilance Court had dismissed the petition on November 28 last year, citing lack of jurisdiction.
Challenging the vigilance court order, Mathew approached the High Court.
Justice C T Ravikumar directed the Vigilance Court to hear both Vigilance and the petitioner and consider the question of jurisdiction and merits.
By the High Court verdict, the Vigilance Court has to continue proceedings in the complaint against the Finance Minister.
In his petition, Mathew, who is also the leader of the Nationalist Kerala Congress, has alleged that Mani provided illegal tax benefits to a poultry trading company and an ayurvedic medicine manufacturer, causing huge loss to the public exchequer.
Pointing out that enhancement of tax for these two items were upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court, he had alleged Mani in an arbitrary manner reduced the tax to favour the beneficiaries.
Mani is also facing allegations of corruption in the bar bribery scam. Hotelier Biju Ramesh has alleged that hefty sum was paid to Mani for his help in reopening some of closed liqour bars in the state.