Pawan Bansal and Ashwani Kumar resign from Union Cabinet

New Delhi: Railway Minister Pawan Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar were on Friday forced to resign as the government’s image continued to take a severe battering over allegations of corruption and interference with graft probe.

Ashwani Kumar, in his resignation letter, said that he was resigning to put an end to “unnecessary controversy” and “public perception of any wrongdoing”. He maintained that the Supreme Court had not passed any strictures against him.

The government, which suffered a severe blow when the Railway Board scam surfaced, was further embarrassed with more media reports emerging about kin of Bansal benefiting from a public sector bank by way of loans when he was Minister of State for Finance.

A clear hint about action against Bansal and Kumar came earlier in the day when Congress spokesman Bhakt Charan Das said the party will not spare anybody “mired” in corruption or manipulation.

The exit of Bansal and Kumar is expected to trigger a reshuffle in the Council of Ministers over which the Congress President and the Prime Minister will meet on Sunday. The reshuffle is expected next week.

Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports from Bangalore that Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who lost out in race for Chief Ministership in Karnataka, told his supporters not to be disheartened because he may be given the Railway portfolio.

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