Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today accepted the resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani in the wake of the High Court observations against him in the bar bribery case.
Talking to reporters soon after receiving the resignation letters of Mani and that of government chief whip, Thomas Unniyadan, Chandy said "Mani has taken the decision to resign on his own."
"Since the bar bribery case came up, UDF's stand was that Mani had not done anything wrong. We still stand by it. The decision to resign was that of Mani in the wake of court observations," Chandy said.
"The High Court has not said that Mani was guilty. But still upholding high political and democratic values, he decided on his own free will to resign. We did not seek his resignation," the chief minister said.
On the replacement for Mani in the cabinet, he said in a coalition set-up, it was the front leaders who make suggestions.
"There were media reports that the Congress high command had sought Mani's resignation. That is not correct. It is natural that the high command will watch the development in the states. The state leadership had complete freedom to take a decision," he added.
All coalition partners had been asked to be in Thiruvanathapuram, the state capital, since this morning and Congress leaders held discussions with them.
Mani was the seniormost legislator and minister in the cabinet and his services to UDF and state government will be an 'asset', Chandy said, expressing confidence that he would return to the cabinet "as early as possible after his name was cleared."