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Kerala: Bar owners' claim debunked; Rs 1 lakh sought for building purchase a month ago; Report

The controversy surrounding the demand for funds within the bar owners' association in Kerala deepens as discrepancies emerge. While the state president claims the requested amount was a loan from executive members for a building, Animon's audio suggests it was demanded from all Idukki district members with no mention of the building.

Kerala: Bar owners' claim debunked; Rs 1 lakh sought for building purchase a month ago; Report anr
First Published May 27, 2024, 10:50 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: New information has surfaced debunking the bar owners' claim that they proposed collecting Rs 2.5 lakhs to purchase an office building for their organization in Thiruvananthapuram. Asianet News obtained a document showing that the leadership had requested the building months ago, and members had already contributed Rs 1 lakh. Amid controversy over the Rs 2.5 lakh demand, which was linked to easing the liquor policy, bar association members are now attempting to justify it by saying the funds were intended for the office building.

Also Read: Kerala: Crime Branch to probe bar bribery allegations after audio clip triggers political storm

The case pertains to an alleged WhatsApp voice note from Animon, the Idukki district president of the Federation of Kerala Hotels Association. In the voice note, Animon purportedly asks members to contribute money to influence the formulation of a favorable liquor policy. In the leaked message, Animon allegedly demands Rs 2.5 lakh from each member.

When the audio clip of Animon demanding Rs 2.5 lakhs sparked controversy, the state president of the bar association explained that the money was intended to buy a building, not to relax liquor policies. Following this, Animon also claimed the funds were for the building. However, a screenshot from a WhatsApp group of bar owners' association members from a few months ago clearly shows that members were already asked to contribute Rs 1 lakh for the building fund.

This is the document showing the payment made by the owner of Spice Grow Hotel in Idukki through the bank on December 21, as referenced in Animon's controversial audio. The amount paid was also Rs 1 lakh. Members note that the leadership has not disclosed the total amount collected. The state president claims that only Rs 4.5 crores have been received, and an additional Rs 2.5 crores is needed for registration.

The president stated that the amount was requested as a loan from the executive members. However, in Animon's audio, the money was demanded from all the members of the Idukki district, with no mention of the building. It is reported that Rs 2.5 lakhs was asked from those who had already paid Rs 1 lakh for the building. Additionally, many members say that during the executive meeting held on April 23rd, numerous members questioned the leadership about this issue.

Even as the controversy rages on, the organization's move is to complete the building registration process immediately. The leadership says that the remaining amount will be taken from the organization's own fund without collecting more. 

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