Bansal quits as railway minister

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Friday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submitted his resignation after the Congress leadership decided he should go, informed sources said.

Bansal’s resignation came hours after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his official residence in the evening.

He handed over his resignation to the prime minister at his official residence.

Bansal was under a cloud after his nephew was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for accepting a bribe of Rs.90 lakh for getting a plum Railway Board post to a senior official.

Labour Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge is tipped to be the next railway minister, said the sources.

The indication that Bansal’s fate was sealed came Friday afternoon when Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das told reporters: “We will not tolerate if anybody is found mired in corruption.”

According to informed sources, the Congress had planned an exit for Bansal as well as Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, under fire for interfering in the work of the CBI in a coal block allocation probe, in a minor cabinet reshuffle being planned over the next few days.

Ashwani Kumar may be moved to a less significant ministry, said the sources.

The Congress, which successfully snatched Karnataka from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the anti-corruption plank, did not want to send out a wrong signal by showing it was soft on corruption, the sources said.

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