Union Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday resigned in the wake of a Himachal Pradesh court framing corruption charges against him.
Singh, a former H P Chief Minister, quit on moral grounds after being slapped with charges of conspiracy and corruption in a 23-year-old case, sources close to him said.
The 78-year-old Union minister for small, micro and medium industries handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday evening and had dismissed as "concocted" the evidence against him in the infamous CD case.
"The evidence is concocted. The CD has not been authenticated. They have not compared my voice," Singh told rediff.com on Tuesday morning.
He questioned the timing of the framing of the charges against him. "It smacks of vendetta. I don't care for my office at all. I don't want to embarrass my party and the prime minister," he said.
He alleged a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the move. "Dhumal, the present chief minister, knew that if I were to contest and lead, the Congress would win the forthcoming assembly elections. He used old cases against me to ensure that I do not lead the campaign. I wonder how the court framed the charges 23 years it was registered. I will fight to clear my name through the court battle," he asserted.
Asked about the resignation, AICC general secretary in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Birender Singh said the party had not asked him to resign and if anything has been done, it would have been done on his own by the minister.
The resignation of Singh, a five time chief minister, has come just a few months ahead of the assembly elections in his native state.
The state is currently being run by the Bharatiya Janata Party.