Bhubaneswar, Jan 6 (LocalWire): Amid strong criticisms for his remark on Pipili case, agriculture and panchayati raj minister Pradeep Maharathy has resigned on Sunday.
“I resigned on moral grounds”, Maharathy said addressing a press conference here.
I have great respect for Chief Minister (Naveen Patnaik) and party (Biju Janata Dal). I don’t want pressure on the party for me, following which I resigned from my posts, he added.
Protests of opposition parties were growing stronger demanding ouster of the minister from Odisha cabinet despite Maharathy’s apology for his remark.
“I am sorry if my statement hurt anybody. It was not intentional. I am a very open-minded person,” Maharathy had told earlier follwing opposition’s protest and demand for his ouster from state cabinet.
Addressing a public gathering at Baripada Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday also raised the issue of recent acquittal of accused in the alleged Pipili gang-rape and murder case and questioned state government’s credentials on safety, security and development of women.
The Bhubaneswar Additional District Judge Court had acquitted prime accused Prashant Pradhan and his brother Sukant Pradhan on December 24 due to lack of evidence in the 2011 sensational case.
A 19-year-old girl of Arjungoda village at Pipili in Puri district had reportedly slipped into coma after allegedly being gang-raped.
Commenting on the judgement, Maharathy had hailed the court’s verdict and said truth has finally prevailed.
“I welcome the verdict. It is victory of the truth. The victim finally got the justice,” he had said.
This statement triggered criticism from all quarters, including political rivals Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).