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Bar bribe scam :Phone tape embarrasses UDF

The bar bribe scam that cast a shadow over the Congress-led UDF Government in Kerala turned murkier on Monday with TV channels airing telephone tapes in which Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai purportedly asked entrepreneur Biju Ramesh to go ahead with his graft charge against Finance Minister K M Mani.

Immediately after Malayalam channels aired the recorded conversation, Pillai, a founder leader of UDF, confirmed its authenticity and claimed he had already told these things to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, which the latter refuted.

In the tape released by channels, Pillai was purportedly heard telling Ramesh that he should not desist from his allegation that Mani had demanded a hefty sum from bar owners for favourable decision, over which a Vigilance probe is on.

Responding to queries from media, Pillai said it was true that he had said these to Ramesh when he called him and that he had already told Chandy all these things about Mani.

Pillai, however, said it was Ramesh who called him and he should not have released the conversation to media, which amounted to "blackmailing".
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