Giving in to public pressure, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Jaspal Singh Pardhan resigned from the post of Patiala's mayor on Monday, two days after he was charged with the murder of his alleged daughter-in-law Parampreet Kaur.
Pardhan, his "second wife" Paramjit Kaur and "their son" Harpreet Singh (victim's husband) were booked on murder charges on Saturday after Parampreet's body was found at her in-laws' house where the three accused were allegedly present. Paramjit and Harpreet were arrested on Sunday, though demands by the victim's parents for Pardhan's arrest have not been met.
Meanwhile, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal constituted a special investigation team (SIT) for the case under inspector general of police (IGP) Shashi Prabha Diwedi, and reiterated the promise of an impartial probe.
Though it is learnt that Pardhan lobbied hard through two cabinet ministers to stay in the chair, the revelation of his "second marriage" through the episode apparently sealed his fate. The SAD was also mindful that the case could give ammunition to the opposition Congress ahead of the impending assembly session, sources said.
In fact, Pardhan was further embarrassed when the SAD could not get through to him over the phone to ask him to resign on Monday afternoon, and issued a press release that said the party president (Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal) had directed Pardhan to resign immediately. SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said the decision was taken "in view of a case registered against [Pardhan] by the Patiala police".
Minutes later, Pardhan called HT: "I have tendered my resignation as directed by the party president. I have full faith in the SAD. I have no role in the murder and the investigation will bring out the truth."