Unfazed by the controversy triggered by his remarks on the killing of former ATS chief Hemant Karakre, Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay on Friday said that he stuck to his stand and that both government and Congress should feel "proud" of his comments.
"I always stand by the truth," said Antulay, who has sent his resignation to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the wake of the uproar after he raised questions on Karkare's killing.
Asked whether he stood by what he had said two days back, he replied in the affirmative. He had said, "Whether Karkare was a victim of terrorism or terrorism plus something, I do not know..."
"I said a man like Karkare is born among millions... who pushed him in the trap of death? Who sent him there to be killed by the Pakistanis?" was Antulay's refrain.
Arguing that Congress had no reason to be embarrassed by whatever he had said, Antulay said, "Both the government and the party should feel proud."
He refused to confirm nor deny whether he sent his resignation to the prime minister.
Asked whether he had been asked to resign, he said, "Does a person like Antulay need to be told to resign?"To a question, whether prime minister has accepted his resignation, Antulay said," You should ask the prime minister. Why are you asking me?"
Clearing his stand, Union Minister AR Antulay says no one from Congress asked me to resign. He also added that he has not embarrassed his party.
Antulay, who is at the centre of a storm triggered by his remarks on the circumstances surrounding Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare's killing, has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, highly placed sources said on Friday. Antulay's remarks ill-timed
79-year-old Antulay, whose remarks created uproar in Parliament and outside with the opposition parties demanding his removal, had sent his resignation on Wednesday night, they said.
When contacted, Antulay today declined to comment, saying, "I am neither confirming it nor denying it".
Throughout yesterday Antulay had maintained that he owed explanation to none on his controversial statement and that he had neither met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minister, nor had he written to them.
The Union Minister for Minority Affairs had created a furore by his remarks raising doubts on the issue of killing of Karkare and two other senior police officers on November 26 night in Mumbai and sought to link it to the ATS chief's role as a key investigator in the Malegaon blast case in which Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Shrikant Purohit were arrested.
He had said that Karkare could have been a victim of "terrorism or terrorism plus something. I do not know". Later, Antulay had sought to wriggle out by saying he did not question the fact that Karkare was killed by Pakistani terrorists but had only wanted to know who had sent him "in the wrong direction" towards Cama hospital instead of Taj or Oberoi hotels or Nariman House which were on fire.
Opposition BJP and Shiv Sena have demanded his removal saying that the comments had weakened India's position on the Mumbai terror attacks carried out by Pakistani terrorists.