KOCHI: The vigilance has filed another FIR against former finance minister K M Mani facing further probe in the bar bribery case. The fresh FIR was filed for granting tax relaxations to a poultry company.
The FIR against him is for giving illegal tax concessions for an Ayurvedic cosmetic company and for waiving a fine of Rs 64 crore imposed by the sales tax department on Thomson Group, a poultry import company in Thrissur. The FIR was filed at the Moovattupuzha Vigilance Court after recording Mani’s statement at his daughter’s residence.
Vigilance director had ordered a quick verification against Mani in July on the complaint of advocate Noble Mathew, a former Kerala Congress leader and a BJP state panel member now. A case was registered after a probe conducted found the allegation to be true. Apart from Mani, his former additional secretary Jayachandran and two companies have been made accused.
In his statement, Noble had mentioned that Mani obtained an amount of Rs 15.5 crore as bribe for these two dealings. The special investigating team of the sales tax department had found that Thomson Group had evaded tax and so imposed a fine of Rs 64 crore on them. Though they approached the Supreme Court against it, their plea was rejected. Mani later appointed a deputy commissioner to waive the tax for them. Noble had stated that Mani accepted a fine of Rs 50 lakh for it.
A 12.5% tax was imposed on Ayurveda cosmetic products during the tenure of the previous government. Though some companies approached the court against it, a favourable verdict was not obtained. However in the 2012 budget, he reduced tax by 5% with effect from 2009 and 4% in 2014. The concessions cost Rs 150 crore loss to the government, Noble’s statement said.