Omar quits over sex slur

CBI denies his role; Governor to await details of charges against chief minister

Omar quits over sex slur

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, centre, reacts while confronted by legislators protesting his resignation announcement in the State Assembly on Tuesday. AFP

The chief minister submitted his resignation to Governor N N Vohra at the Governor’s House late in the afternoon. A spokesman for the Governor said Omar had requested Vohra to inquire, on a time-bound basis, into the allegations. The chief minister also pleaded with the Governor to immediately accept his resignation, in case the latter was satisfied that the allegations were not baseless.

The scandal involved Congress politicians, senior security officials, bureaucrats and Kashmiri businessmen.

Two Congress leaders and former ministers Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Raman Mattoo had to spend several months in jail after the CBI detected their involvement in the scandal. The investigating agency also found DIG (BSF) C K Padhi, senior bureaucrat Iqbal Khanday and additional advocate general Anil Sethi to have been involved in the scandal.

It was exposed during Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s tenure as chief minister. At that time, a girl alleged that she had been sexually exploited by a host of politicians, bureaucrats, senior police and security officials after being promised jobs by them.

When Ghulam Nabi Azad became the chief minister, a CBI probe was ordered.
Once the case was handed over to the CBI, a local woman, Sabina, was arrested for allegedly supplying young girls and women to politicians, bureaucrats and senior police and security officials.

Details sought

The governor is reported to have sought details of the allegations, the spokesman said.
“The Governor asked Omar Abdullah to continue to discharge his responsibilities as chief minister till a final decision is taken,” he added.

Meanwhile, the CBI has sent a report to the  Assembly Speaker that Omar’s name does not figure in the chargesheet filed in the scandal, a point also made public by Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The PDP raised the allegations in the Assembly during Zero Hour. Party legislator Beig, while speaking on the recent Shopian rape and murder, referred to the scandal.
“The CBI, which probed the matter, had Omar Abdullah’s name at serial number 102 on the list,”he said. The PDP legislator demanded that the chief minister resign, as he had no moral right to continue in office.

Immediately after Beig’s speech, the NC MLAs were on the toes. Later, the CM described Beig’s allegations as baseless. “In allegations like theft and dacoity, one is innocent till proved guilty. But in this case, it has to be proved first that I am innocent. Till I am proved innocent I cannot occupy the CM’s chair. I will submit the resignation to the Governor,” Omar said. The Congress and NC legislators made efforts to persuade Omar to reconsider his decision. But he refused to listen. “If you want me to sit on the chair of the chief minister, please allow me to resign,” he said before leaving the House.

Efforts of persuasion continued at Omar’s residence as well. The Congress high command in New Delhi got active and requested Omar to change his mind. A meeting of the NC legislators was held in which Omar’s father and former chief minister Farooq also attended. He was at the airport on his way to Delhi when reports of the crisis began trickling in. And, he rushed back to his residence here. After the meeting, Omar and Farooq together left for the  Governor’s House, where the CM submitted his resignation.
Most ruling party legislators felt Omar had taken the decision in haste. “It is a baseless allegation. There is no case against the chief minister. He should not have resigned,” said Finance Minister A R Rather.

Following Omar’s announcement, the NC and the Congress legislators passed a resolution, expressing full faith in his leadership.

DH News Service

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