I am innocent, says Ashok Chavan

Addressing a press conference soon after submitting his resignation to Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, he said the Congress leadership should conduct a full inquiry into the matter.

"Everything will come out in the open after the inquiry, and my innocence will be proved. I have submitted by resignation pending the outcome of the inquiry," Chavan declared.
"I still enjoy the confidence of my leader (Sonia Gandhi). She was kind enough to give me the chief ministership. I am grateful for the responsibility she has given me."

Gandhi had constituted a two-member team comprising Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to probe the allotment of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society flats in Mumbai -- originally meant for families of soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan -- to politicians, bureaucrats and military officials.
He said he took the decision to quit pending the inquiry report.

"I have been informed that pending inquiry, (my) resignation has been accepted. That's why I met with Maharashtra governor and submitted to him my resignation," Chavan told reporters here.

Chavan, who has been asked to continue till a successor was appointed, said the decision would not impact his political career.

"We encounter many ups and downs in public life and there are other options available. I have no intentions of quitting the party and shall continue to work as an ordinary worker of the party. I fully respect the decisions of the party leadership."

Chavan said he had placed the facts of the Adarsh housing society issue before the party leadership last week and had offered to quit pending the outcome of the inquiry.

"The party can conduct inquiry by any agency and the truth will come out," he said.
Mukherjee and Antony are expected to reach Mumbai later this afternoon while a meeting of Congress legislators is being called here Tuesday night, around 10 p.m., to decide on Chavan's successor.

The governor accepted the resignation and requested Chavan to continue till alternate arrangements were made.

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