Mayor-in-council member and Ratlam municipal corporation's public works department in-charge Arun Rao, against whom 97-year-old freedom fighter Rajmal Choradiya levelled serious allegations, stepped down from his post on Tuesday night.
The resignation comes a day ahead of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's visit to Ratlam on Wednesday. According to information from party sources, BJP state president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan and secretary Arvind Menon discussed the matter and instructed Rao to resign, fearing embarrassment for the CM over the issue.
When contacted, Rao said the party had directed him to resign and he was just following orders, while claiming his innocence in the matter.
"In the SDM report, it was proven that Choradiya levelled false allegations on me. Even after that the organisation has decided to probe the matter. But, no committee has been formed yet," he said. "Still, I stick to my words that I did not ask a single penny from Choradiya or abused him as he is very elder to me. All the allegations levelled by him are baseless."
On August 8, Choradiya had alleged that BJP corporator Rao had demanded Rs 50,000 bribe from him. The bribe was to ensure that Choradiya's house did not come under the category of 'dangerous' buildings and face demolition. The freedom fighter has also alleged that Rao abused him publicly.
Taking cognizance of Choradiya's complaint, district collector B Chandrashekhar directed SDM Sunil Jha to probe the matter. During the course of investigation, the officer did not find any substantial evidence to prove Choradiya's claim against Rao and subsequently a clean chit was given to Rao. Subsequently, an enraged Choradiya refused to accept any honour from the government during the Independence Day function.