J&K minister accused of molesting doctor quits

Interim bail rejected, police say accused will be held

J&K minister accused of molesting doctor quits

A day after senior Congress leader and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Minister of State for Health Shabir Ahmad Khan was booked for allegedly molesting a woman doctor, the minister was forced to resign on Friday.

Governor N N Vohra accepted the resignation with immediate effect a few hours after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recommended and forwarded the resignation, an official spokesperson said.

The Congress high command had directed the minister to put in his papers to “pave the way for a fair investigation” into the case in which the doctor, who happens to be the wife of a senior separatist leader, has alleged that Khan tried to molest her when she visited his office last month.

“The Congress has asked Minister of State for Health Shabir Khan to resign pending inquiry,” said J&K Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Ravinder Sharma. Earlier, Khan’s request that a bail application be allowed to be filed before a bench in Jammu was on Friday turned down by the Chief Justice of  J&K High Court. 

Khan will have to now move a bail application before a trial court or High Court in Srinagar where an FIR has been lodged.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Central Kashmir) Afhadul Mujtaba said they have started investigating the matter and the accused will be arrested. Sources told Deccan Herald that the victim in her complaint has stated that she was called by the minister’s aide to visit the secretariat last month. 

When the minister came to meet her in the cabin, she said that he acted like a “sexual predator” and made provocative advances, both verbal and physical. 

He also offered her many favours despite her resentment. Khan later asked her to meet him at the Circuit House where he was staying, she added.
State politicians seek strict action

Jammu and Kashmir politicians on Friday demanded stern action against Shabir Ahmad Khan, DHNS reports from Srinagar. The Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said the complaint depicted the situation in the state. “The minister who is supposed to be the protector of female doctors has turned out to be a predator. Action should be initiated against him,” Mehbooba demanded. Ruling National Conference president and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said, “If it is true, then law must take its own course.”

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