Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal resigns, say sources

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Friday resigned, CNN IBN reported quoting sources, due to the widespread criticism over his nephew’s alleged involvement in bribery for a plum railway board posting.

CNN-IBN has also reported that Mallikarjun Kharge is likely to become the next Railway Minister and a cabinet reshuffle is also likely next week.

Sonia Gandhi allegedly made it clear to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the damage has been done and Bansal needed to go, sources told CNN-IBN.

Bansal did not attend office until Friday afternoon, fuelling speculation that he was on his way out.

 Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal resigns, say sources

Pawan Kumar Bansal. PTI

Bansal, who also skipped the cabinet meeting on Thursday, was under pressure following the arrest of his nephew Vijay Singla by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with his alleged acceptance of Rs 90 lakh as part-payment of a bribe for the promotion of an official to the Railway Board.

Party sources earlier said Bansal’s continuation in office would become untenable if the CBI decides to question him in the bribery case over the railway posting.

They had said CBI investigators seem to be closing in on the minister.

“It would be embarrassing for the party if he were to be quizzed,” a party leader had said.

According to the sources, the party had been looking at the direction the CBI investigations would take, and could ask Bansal to quit or ease him out in a minor cabinet reshuffle.

Congress leaders also sought to make a distinction between the cases of Bansal and Kumar.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: May 10, 2013 20:44:08 IST