Haryana minister quits after murder taint

Haryana minister quits after murder taint

“With a view to ensuring a fair inquiry into the allegations levelled against Tourism and Transport Minister Om Parkash Jain and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Zile Ram Sharma, both of them have tendered their resignations on the directions of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today,” a state government spokesman told IANS here.

"Both of them immediately offered to resign to support fair investigation into their alleged involvement in a murder in Karnal," the statement said. Director General of Police (DGP) Ranjeev Dalal said the case of their alleged involvement in the murder of former village headman Tuesday has been handed over to the crime branch and it would be investigated by a senior officer.

Jain and Sharma have figured in the murder of former village headman Karam Singh, whose stabbed body was found near the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal Tuesday. Just a day before his murder, the former village headman, who was in his 50s, had submitted a written complaint to Hooda and police against the minister and the CPS about an alleged fraud committed on him.

Karam Singh had accused Jain and Sharma of duping him of nearly Rs.13 lakh on the pretext of providing government jobs to his son and two nephews. But they neither provided the jobs nor returned the money, his complaint said.  Karam Singh also sent a written complaint to the chief minister's office Monday.

While the resignation of Jain has been forwarded to Governor Jagannath Pahadia and is likely to be accepted, the resignation of Zile Ram Sharma has been accepted by the chief minister himself. Jain held the portfolios of civil aviation and hospitality in addition to transport and tourism. These portfolios would now be held by the chief minister.  

The former village headman’s son, Rajinder Singh, alleged that his father was killed at the behest of Jain and Sharma. "My father had left the home for Zile Ram Sharma's house on Tuesday morning. He called me after sometime and said that he was going to PWD (public works department) rest house with Zile Ram's aides. Thereafter, he did not contact us and in the afternoon we got news about his murder," said Rajinder Singh Wednesday.

"I am very sure that my father was murdered by Zile Ram's men. He was furious as my father had complained against him and the transport minister. We want registration of murder case against them (Jain and Sharma). The police are not cooperating with us," he  said. Jain, who won the October 2009 assembly election as an independent legislator from Panipat, was inducted into the cabinet and given important portfolios as the Congress, which did not get a majority in the assembly, tried to rope in independent legislators to form a government headed by Hooda.

Sharma won the 2009 assembly poll on a Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) ticket. However, he and four other HJC legislators later defected to the ruling Congress.

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