Omar quits over PDP charge, governor asks him to stay

Written by Political Bureau | Srinagar, Jammu | Updated: Jul 30 2009, 04:29am hrs
Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday tendered his resignation to governor N N Vohra after senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh stunned the Assembly by alleging that Abdullahs name figured in a list of accused in the 2006 Srinagar sex scandal.

Abdullah asked Vohra to go into the allegation and accept his resignation if he was guilty. A Raj Bhavan spokesperson said the governor has asked Abdullah to continue to discharge his responsibilities as chief minister till a final decision is taken.

The spokesperson said Abdullah asked the governor to inquire on a time-bound basis into allegations made by Beigh, a former deputy chief minister in the Assembly and to immediately accept his resignation in case the governor is satisfied that there is any basis therein.

In the Assembly, Beigh waved papers which he claimed was a CBI list of the accused. You please have a look at serial number 102 of the list. I regret to say there is the name of chief minister Omar Abdullah... The chief minister, therefore, has no moral authority to rule, Beigh told the speaker.

A visibly upset Abdullah drove to the governors residence at 3 pm after announcing in the Assembly that he would submit his resignation and stay out of office till his name is cleared, refusing to yield to pleas by National Conference and Congress MLAs not to step down.

In the letter he handed to Vohra, Abdullah said: Beigh levelled unsubstantiated allegations against my person attacking my character. Those who lead must not only be clean but also look to be clean. At the end of the day all one has is ones personal credibility and self respect. Both of these Mr Beigh tried to snatch from me through the charges he levelled.

Speaker M A Lone said the Assembly will hold its own inquiry since the allegation was levelled in the House.

He indicated Beigh could face action if his allegation was found to be untrue. Action against Beigh will be considered, based on the opinion of the House and I will be truly guided by rules in the case, Lone said.

The sex scandal case is pending in high court. Sources in the CBI said the matter was referred to a full bench after a two-judge bench gave a split verdict.

Senior lawyer Zafar A Shah, who pleads on behalf of the High Court Bar Association which filed a PIL, said hearing of the case had been pending for two months. He said neither the defence lawyers nor the prosecution had access to the case diaries submitted by the CBI to the court.