"I am rejecting with contempt the reports in this regard...I don't want to respond to things said by somebody sitting at some places," he told reporters here.
       
A visibly ruffled Mani said "no evidence has come out on the scam even after 85 days have passed after it broke.'
      
"There is no need to debate matters on the basis of hearsay," 81-year-old veteran of Kerala politics asserted after local media went agog with speculations that Kerala Congress (M) has run into serious internal turmoil over the issue of his successor in the event of his resignation.
       
Adding fuel to the speculations, KC (M) leader and Government Chief Whip P C George had said that there were senior leaders in the party in the event of Mani's resignation, seen as a indication that he would oppose the move to elevate Jose K Mani.
       
However, George said the present circumstances did not warrant Mani's resignation.
       
As part of their agitation against Mani, LDF had decided to boycott Mani while BJP had called for a state-wide hartal on January 27 demanding his resignation.
       
The bar bribe scam, which pertains to graft allegation against Mani, levelled by the hotelier, took a new twist with TV channels airing telephone tapes of purported conversation between Pillai and Ramesh. Pillai was also heard making new corruption charges against Mani during the conversation.
       
In November last, Ramesh had alleged that Mani had been given a hefty sum on the promise that he would help in reopening some closed liquor bars. An FIR has been lodged in the matter for a detailed probe.

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