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Vajpayee accepts Judeo's resignation

Minister of State for Environment Dilip Singh Judeo resigned from the Govt in the wake of allegations of accepting bribe for a mining deal.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2003 20:55 IST

The resignation of Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Dilip Singh Judeo, in a thick of controversy over graft allegations, has been accepted.

This was stated by Union Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Monday.

Addressing a press conference with Rajnath Singh, Judeo insisted that the allegations against him were "false and baseless" and had put in his papers earlier in the day as he did not want to continue as minister.

Judeo said he had also discussions with the party president Venkaiah Naidu and had also spoken to him twice and expressed "desire not to continue in the ministry."

"But I want to ask Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi when is he going to resign as two cases are registered against him," Judeo asked expressing surprise over Jogi's comments that Judeo had shamed the two crore people of the state by his deeds.

Judeo resigned from the Government in the wake of allegations of accepting bribe for a mining deal, BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu said.

Naidu said the leaders, who attended the meeting, requested Vajpayee to order an inquiry either by CBI or by an appropriate agency "so that truth comes out".

The BJP Chief said Judeo, who spoke to him twice on telephone yesterday and this morning, told him that he would continue to campaign for the party for the coming assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

Naidu said Judeo had told him that the matter was part of a "conspiracy" and "vilification" campaign against him and the party. The BJP Chief said Judeo alleged the involvement of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi in it.

Naidu said Judeo had offered to resign yesterday but he was told that the Prime Minister was away and he should wait for the party's guidance on the matter.

Besides the BJP President, the meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, party General Secretary Pramod Mahajan and BJP chief whip in Lok Sabha VK Malhotra.

Vajpayee, who arrived here last night, from his week-long three-nation tour, had told reporters that a probe was on into the charges against Judeo and asserted he would go if found guilty.

Claiming that "Judeo is honest", Naidu said "I have conveyed the same to the Prime Minister".

On the VCD on the basis of which The Sunday Express ran a front-page story, the BJP Chief said "we have not seen the disc.... Nobody owns it".

Naidu said Judeo felt that it would be better if he quits office as Congress could make it an issue in the run up to the assembly polls, affecting the party's election prospects.

Attacking Congress for demanding Judeo's resignation, Naidu said what action the party has taken against Jogi, who faces charges of "forgery and cheating".

He claimed an inquiry had been conducted and prima facie charges established. "What is their response?", he said and termed the matter as "dirty tricks", allegedly perpetrated by Congress. He accused the opposition party of adopting "spit and run" policy.

Charging Congress with keeping mum on the multi-crore Telgi fake stamp paper scam, Naidu said the scam originated from Karnataka and has spread to 12 states.

"What is their response. Why are they not demanding a CBI probe into it", he said.

First Published: Nov 17, 2003 18:41 IST