Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani, who is embroiled in a bribery case, has refused to resign from the state cabinet, the Times of India reported on Tuesday. Moreover, he has threatened to withdraw the support of his nine MLAs if forced to leave, the report added. Mani leads the Kerala Congress (M), a faction of the Kerala Congress, which is part of the United Democratic Front government that rules the state. However, PC George, a rebel MLA from the faction stepped down on Tuesday, and demanded that Mani should do so too, Times Now reported. George has been outspoken in his criticism of Mani in the past as well.
The UDF discussed the issue of forcing Mani out at a meeting at Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's house on Tuesday. Mani and his supporters stayed away from the meeting, while protests against him broke out in Trivandrum. Several Congress leaders have publicly demanded Mani's resignation. In October 2014, the Kerala Hotels and Bar Association had alleged that Mani had asked for a bribe of Rs 5 crore to renew hundreds of bar licenses.
On Monday, the Kerala High Court turned down a petition seeking a stay on the investigation against him. Mani is also the head of the national panel of state finance ministers for the Goods and Services Tax.