India. Graft: VACB quizzes Babu

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The VACB probing the alleged irregularities in the issuance of beer and wine parlour license interrogated former Excise Minister K Babu on Monday in connection with the case.

Babu appeared before the investigation team at the VACB office at Pullepady here around 10 am, in response to a summons. Following the near-three-hour-long interrogation, VACB officials claimed there were contradictions in Babu’s statements with regard to orders issued by the previous government on renewal of beer and wine licence. The former minister’s statement on the procedures adopted by the Excise Department for closure of liquor shops operated by the Bevco was unsatisfactory , they said.

VACB officials said Babu would be interrogated further in the coming days. “Certain documents have to be collected from the Excise Department and Secretariat, based on the statement given by Babu, who will be summoned against for questioning,” said a VACB official. Later, speaking to reporters, Babu alleged the hands of bar owners who incurred loss from the liquor policy of the previous government behind the complaints against him. “There was no irregularity in the issuance of beer and wine parlour licence. In Kerala, there are several bars operating near liquor outlets. So, the closure of certain liquor outlets benefited some of the bar owners. The allegations are baseless, and I will take legal recourse to prove my innocence”, Babu said.