KM Mani had resigned on November 10, a day after the High Court cleared the decks for further probe against him in the bar bribery case.
The Catholic Church today expressed its displeasure over KM Mani's decision not naming anyone from KC(M)as his successor in the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala after he was forced to resign as finance minister following the High Court's observations in bar bribery case.
In an editorial in "Satyadeepam", the official organ of Kerala's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church - the largest and most influential Catholic group in the state - the church also criticised Mr Mani for not quitting the cabinet in the initial stage of allegations that he accepted bribe from bar owners for renewing liquor bar licenses in the state.
"Since Mani's party (Kerala Congress-M) is a party which has eight legislators, there was possibility of having continuation of its representation in the Cabinet even after Mani's resignation. There are precedents of Mani's party itself having opted this option when it was confronted with similar situations in the past," the Church said.
Significantly, Mr Mani belongs to Syro-Malabar church from which his party Kerala Congress (M) has always drawn support. Kerala Congress (M) has its support base mostly in Christian heartland of Central Travancore region of Kerala especially in Kottayam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam districts and settlers' areas in the eastern belt of Malabar.
"The allegations levelled against Mani was not ambiguous. It is quite natural about fairness of an investigation against a person who continues to occupy key position in the Cabinet," the Church said, stating that Mr Mani should have followed the footsteps of great leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri who had quit as Railway Minister from the Jawaharlal Nehru's Cabinet owing moral responsibility of a train accident.
Reminding Mr Mani of a call given by Pope Francis that honesty, dedication and sense of public wellbeing are essential for politicians, the Church also said Mr Mani could have made a comeback if the allegations levelled against him was found to be baseless and concocted.
Mr Mani had resigned on November 10, a day after the High Court cleared the decks for further probe against him in the bar bribery case.
An FIR had been filed against Mr Mani last year after a "quick verification" by the Vigilance department on the charges by Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners' Association working president Biju Ramesh that the minister had accepted Rs one crore as bribe for renewal of licenses to more than 400 Indian Made Foreign Liquor bars.