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BJP minister under cloud in Uttarakhand
April 30, 2007 15:46 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttarakhand is facing an embarrassing situation over the alleged involvement of cabinet minister Madan Kaushik and a few other party leaders with one Neelam Sharma, who recently committed suicide.
Neelam's corpse was recovered a few days ago from a New Delhi hospital and her family members cremated it in Haridwar on Saturday.
Neelam, a divorcee, was allegedly involved with top political leaders in Haridwar and in the National Capital Region.
Speculation is rife that Neelam had not committed suicide but had been murdered since she had started blackmailing some politicians.
The issue has been seized upon by the Opposition to attack the BJP government. Congress workers held a demonstration in Haridwar yesterday and burnt the minister's effigy. The party's state spokesperson Rajesh Rastogi said Congress activists from all over the state would sit on a dharna in Gandhi Park in the state capital Lucknow on May 2 to demand a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case. The former chairperson of the State Women's Commission, Dr Santosh Chauhan, told reporters that since top leaders, including a cabinet minister, are reported to be involved, only a CBI inquiry can unravel the truth.
Samajwadi Party activists also sat on a dharna today at Subhash Ghat on the banks of the Ganga, to protest the minister's alleged involvement in the case.
Addressing the gathering, party state chief Ambarish Kumar called on Kaushik to resign on moral grounds. ''He has no moral right to remain in the state cabinet till his name is cleared by a CBI enquiry,'' he said.
However, Kaushik, who was in Haridway today, has refuted all the allegations.
''All the allegations against me are politically motivated. I am ready to face any enquiry,'' he asserted.