October 07, 2006 18:29 IST
Haryana Governor A R Kidwai on Saturday accepted the resignation of Venod Sharma, facing flak following revelations in the Jessica Lal [Images] murder case in which his son Manu Sharma is the main accused, from the Congress-led government in the state.
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had forwaded Sharma's letter to the Governor on Friday evening after the power minister submitted his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] following allegations that he had bribed three key witnesses to save his son.
The governor could not take a decision on the matter on Friday as he was out of station, sources said.
Tehelka had carried out a three-month sting operation against three key witnesses -- Shayan Munshi, Karan Rajput, and Shiv Das -- who had turned hostile in the ramp model murder case leading to the acquittal of Manu Sharma.
The operation had sought to reveal how money and muscle power was allegedly used to coerce the three witnesses into changing their stand in court despite having given statements to the police accusing Manu of the crime.
With Sharma's resignation, the strength of the Hooda ministry has come down to 12, which includes chief minister, the deputy chief minister, seven cabinet ministers and three ministers of state.
Meanwhile, Venod said there was no pressure on him from the government or the party high command to resign from his post. He told reporters at his residence in Ambala that he had resigned from the ministry in keeping with the traditions of the Congress party, but refused to comment on whether he will join the ministry again if his son Manu was acquitted in the Jessica Lal murder case.
He said that he will continue to discharge his duties as a legislator from Ambala and added that the development work in his constituency will not be affected by his resignation.
Sharma's resignation on Friday came in the wake of opposition parties stepping up their campaign for his ouster after a sting operation by Tehelka, which allegedly claimed that he had bribed three key witnesses to change their change their statements.
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