Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saurday said the charges were 'totally baseless' after the working President of Kerala Bar Owners Association and a bar owner Biju Ramesh alleged in a section of the media that Mani had taken Rs one crore and demanded Rs five crore to reopen 418 closed bars.

"I am very sure that the allegation is totally baseless and so there is no need for any probe. I am fully confident about this", Chandy said.

Chandy termed the charges against Mani as 'unfortunate' and said people would not believe this kind of charge against the minister, whose political life "is an open book and not behind an iron curtain."

He denied the charge of Ramesh that he had raised the issue of some of his cabinet colleagues demanding bribe during a meeting with him and asserted that no such meeting had taken place and that he had also not met the person concerned.

Mani, speaking to reporters at Pala, his constituency in Kottayam district, also rubbished the charges as 'baseless' and alleged they had been levelled with 'ulterior motives.'

The Minister said he suspected a conspiracy to malign him and challenged those who had levelled the charges to prove it.

The turn of event has political overtones as Government Chief Whip and KC-M nominee P C George had alleged that Chandy was behind the allegations.

Referring to George's remark, Mani said 'I do not believe the Chief Minister is behind the allegations'.

Seizing on the matter, CPI-M politburo member M A Baby termed the charges as very serious and demanded a judicial probe into the matter.

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