Mani, 81, who heads the Kerala Congress (M), an ally of the ruling Congress-led UDF, has denied the allegation and said he was not the minister in charge of bar licences.
Biju Ramesh, who owns a series of bar-attached hotels across the state, said he had paid Rs 1 crore of the Rs 5 crore that was demanded. On a TV show, where he made the claim last evening, Ramesh also said he had met chief minister Oommen Chandy who advised him against paying any bribe.
Chandy, however, said he had never met Ramesh and it was unfortunate that such an allegation had been made against the veteran. “I can vouch that the allegations have no relation to reality,” he said.
On October 30, the high court had partially approved the government’s decision to shut all bars except those in the state’s 21 five-star hotels, sparing the 42 four-star and heritage hotels as well. Ramesh’s bars are not among these facilities.