Speaker resigns on sexual harassment case;Minister sacked

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 31 (UNI) Charged with sexual harassment by a suspended lady Marshal of Orissa Assembly, Speaker Maheswar Mohanty today tendered his resignation, while Information and Public Relations Minister Debashis Nayak was sacked from the Cabinet by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The Speaker submitted his resignation to Deputy Speaker Prahallad Dora, whom he had entrusted his charge after he refused to preside over the Budget session of the House following allegation of sexual harassment by lady Marshal Gayatri Panda against him.

Mr Mohanty submitted his resignation soon after the House was adjourned sine die by the Deputy Speaker amid protest from the Opposition which had paralysed the House for the last five days demanding the Speaker's resignation.

In another development, Mr Patnaik today dropped Information and Public Relations Minister Debashis Nayak after newspapers reported his alleged role in the filing of FIR by the lady Marshal against the Speaker.

In a letter to Governor Murali Chandrakant Bhandare,the chief minister requested him to drop Mr Nayak from the cabinet as he had lost confidence in him.

A section of the BJD, owing allegiance to the Speaker, also demanded Nayak's resignation for his alleged involvement in the case.

The Speaker had also alleged that some influential persons were behind the allegation and suggested a House Committee probe the incident.

He had also made it clear that till the truth comes out he would not preside over the House.

In his resignation letter, the Speaker had demanded forthwith an impartial inquiry by any agency and strong punishment to the culprits.

The chief minister dropped Mr Nayak and the Speaker submitted his resignation after the Leader of the Opposition today demanded Mr Patnaik's resignation alleging that he had been protecting the Speaker and the Minister for their alleged involvement in the sexual harassment case.

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