In an embarrassment to the Congress-led UDF government, just few months ahead of state assembly polls, the High Court yesterday cleared the deck for a further probe in the bar bribery case in which an FIR has been filed against Mani.
Mani heads the Kerala Congress(M), the third largest partner in the ruling coalition with nine MLAs. Apparently taking a serious view of the development, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who had solidly stood behind Mani ever since the scam broke out last year, called an emergency meeting of the Front's high power committee today to discuss the emerging situation.
Chandy, who was away from the state capital, rushed back and told reporters that a meeting of UDF leaders will be held in the light of the court verdict.
The meeting assumes significance as clamour for Mani's resignation grew even within the Front partners and Congress, besides opposition LDF.
The verdict has come as a big blow to the beleaguered 82-year-old Mani, who has the distinction of being a member of the state assembly for 50 years uninterruptedly from 1965. Mani, who heads the Empowered Committee on GST, was in Kochi when the verdict came.
Reacting to the development, Mani said there was a 'conspiracy' against him and he knew those who were behind it. A meeting of the KC-M Parliamentary party would be held prior to the UDF meeting, he said.

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