Srinagar: On a day of dramatic developments, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday resigned after a senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader alleged in the state assembly that he was involved in the 2006 sex scandal, a charge dismissed by him as false.
An emotional Omar drove to Governor N N Vohra’s residence at 3 pm shortly after announcing in the assembly that he will tender his resignation and stay out of office till his name is cleared.
In his resignation letter, Omar also asked the Governor to initiate an enquiry into the allegations levelled against him within a specified time frame. “I would be grateful if in a time bound manner you can enquire into the allegations levelled against me at the the earliest,” his political advisor Davender Rana quoted Omar as saying.
The whole drama began when PDP leader and former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Beig alleged that Omar was involved in the infamous Srinagar sex scandal, which was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The scandal surfaced in 2006 when police arrested a woman, Sabina. During interrogation, she told police that she used to send girls including minors to politicians and senior bureaucrats and policemen, triggering a political storm in the state.
Beig claimed he had a list of people involved in the scandal in which Omar figured at number 102 while his father Farooq Abdullah’s name was at serial number 38.
However, CBI sources said there was no such list and all necessary action in the case had been taken. Two former ministers of PDP-Congress Government, G A Mir and Raman Mattoo and Iqbal Khandey, a former aide of the then chief minister Mufti Sayeed, were among those arrested.
An upset Omar said in the assembly,“I know it is a false allegation. But I want to resign. Till I am cleared of this false allegation, I cannot work....It is a blot on my character.
“Any amount of investigation by the home department will not not help,” the 39-year-old National Conference leader told the state assembly, a statement that shocked his party members of legislative assenbly (MLAs) and ministers.
Omar was accompanied by his father and Union minister Farooq Abdullah to Raj Bhavan besides his political advisor Davender Rana.
The MLAs and Ministers physically restrained Omar from going out of the assembly, telling him not not to resign and that the party would not accept it.
Omar, who came to power in January this year at the head of a NC-Congress coalition, was virtually forced to take his seat by the ruffled members but he got up to shout at them saying “allow me to take this first step””.
Rana accused the PDP of levelling a ”frivolous, fabricated, malicious and baseless” allegation against Omar.
“Omar has proved to the world that he is not a politician of the ordinary mill...that he is a man of ethics and high morality and one who is going to change the discourse of politics in this country and the sub-continent,” he said.
Omar left chief ministership on an allegation which he believes is “false, absolutely concocted and malicious”, he said.
Rana said the entire legislative party of the National Conference and the Congress tried hard persuade Omar not to resign. “We all stood up for him...but he said no”.
Referring to the CBI probe into the scandal and asserting that the guilty had not been punished, Beig said in the assembly, “I have to say with regret, there is the name of Omar Abdullah, son of Farooq Abdullah, in the list. He has lost the moral authority to rule the state. He must resign.”
The issue figured shortly after the question hour ended in the House which yesterday witnessed pandemonium after PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti wrenched a mike from the Speaker’s podium and tried to remove one more, showing her protest over the issue of Shopian rape and murder case. She and other PDP MLAs were promptly marshalled out of the House.
In his response, an emotionally-charged Abdullah, said he had not expected “things to fall to such depths”.