Ending weeks of speculation on whether he would step down voluntarily or force the Centre to remove him from the post of the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), Justice AK Ganguly met Governor MK Narayanan for over 30 minutes on Monday evening.
Though the former Supreme Court judge, accused of sexually harassing a law intern, would say nothing and the Governor too, is silent, agencies quoting sources said Ganguly had finally stepped down.
The development took place on a day the Supreme Court threw out two petitions praying the Centre should be restrained from acting against Ganguly.
The Cabinet has already cleared a presidential reference against Ganguly that would soon be put up before President Pranab Mukherjee. The latter would then have to ask the Supreme Court to act.
Even Trinamool Congress leaders refused to comment on the development.
Justice Ganguly has had a running battle with the state government and had deeply embarrassed the Mamata Banerjee regime with some of his recent orders. Even Sujoy Haldar, the WBHRC joint-secretary who accompanied Ganguly to the Raj Bhavan, was not sure if he had, indeed, resigned.
Speculations about an impending resignation were doing the rounds since Sunday. Especially after Ganguly reportedly told eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee he would step down from the rights panel once the Cabinet recommended his dismissal to the President.
Ganguly’s decision to quit was met with mixed reactions.
"He should have resigned long ago on moral grounds," said National Women’s Commission chairperson Mamta Sharma. But former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was staunchly backing Ganguly, was upset.
Ganguly has consistently maintained that he was innocent. Even a week ago, he told reporters that he was all for a detailed probe into the incident.