Bhubaneswar, Jan 6 (IANS) Odisha Agriculture and Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Maharathy on Sunday resigned from the Naveen Patnaik cabinet over his controversial remarks on the acquittal of two accused in the gangrape and murder of a Dalit girl.
The resignation came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the Pipili gangrape issue at a public meeting in Baripada on Saturday.
“I tendered my resignation on moral ground so that my party does not get in trouble,” said the six-time MLA.
Maharathy was in the eye of the storm following his controversial remarks hailing acquittal of the Pipili gangrape accused. The BJD leader represents Pipili constituency in Puri district.
Additional District Judge Court, Bhubaneswar had acquitted two prime accused on December 24 due to lack of evidence in the 2011 sensational gangrape and murder case.
Reacting to the court’s judgement, Maharathy had said, “I welcome the court judgement. It is a victory of truth. The victim girl got justice.”
Following the controversial remarks, opposition Congress and BJP had been demanding Maharathy’s dismissal for his insensitive statement.
During a public meeting at Baripada on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue and requested the state government to probe the gangrape and murder case again to ensure justice for the victim and punish the culprits.
In 2012, Maharathy had tendered his resignation for allegedly shielding the accused in the same case. He again became a minister in 2014.