"I have yesterday tendered my resignation to the honourable Prime Minister thanking him for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his team. I have done so to put an end to unnecessary controversy in a matter, which is before the honourable Supreme Court, and in which no adverse comments have been made against me in any manner whatsoever. My conscience remains clear. And I believe I will stand vindicated," Ashwani Kumar told mediapersons here.
"When papers for resignation are put in, they do not by any set of imagination imply wrongdoing. There are certain political decisions that are considered necessary. Whatever the Prime Minister and the party high command thought fit as a loyal foot -soldier I have done and I am proud of the fact that I am a loyal foot- soldier of the party," he added, when asked why he had put in his papers if he had done no wrong.
In a swift and decisive move, the Congress Party dropped both Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Union Cabinet yesterday in view of the charges of corruption and impropriety surrounding the duo.
The decision in this regard came soon after Congress President Sonia Gandhi met the Prime Minister and it was decided that both the ministers should be asked to put in their papers to contain any further damage to the UPA Government.
The government was finding to difficult to defend the Law Minister after the apex court's scathing remarks over changing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) status report in the coal scam.
Meanwhile, Bansal's ouster from the Cabinet became inevitable after it became clear that the CBI was all set to question him following the arrest of his nephew Vijay Singla .
The arrest of Singla and media revelations about his family's business transactions and bank loans had caused the government major embarrassment.
In his resignation letter, Bansal maintained that he was not aware that his nephew was in contact with Railway Board Member Mahesh Kumar but he still thought it proper to step down.
64-year-old Bansal, who was made Railway Minister in October last year, said he looks forward to an expeditious investigation into the allegations.
The CBI had earlier on Thursday grilled Bansal's personal secretary Rahul Bhandari, a 1997 batch Punjab cadre IAS officer, who is believed to be privy to all the crucial decisions taken in the Railway Ministry.
Bansal had earlier told the Congress leadership, including the Prime Minister, that he has no business links with his nephew.
--ANI (Posted on 11-05-2013)