Atram submits resignation, accepted by Governor

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Mumbai, July 7 (UNI) Maharashtra acting Governor S C Jamir today accepted the resignation of Minister of State for Transport Dharmaraobaba Atram, from whose Panchgani farmhouse, chinkara bones and guns were seized.

The minister had earlier in the day handed over his resignation letter to Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, being the leader of NCP, sources in Mr Atram's office said. It was routed through the chief minister to the Governor.

In his letter to the chief minister, Atram put the blame on some persons in the administration, whose interests were affected due to his decisions.

''I am not at all involved in the killings of Chinkaras'', he asserted, saying he was resigning on moral grounds.

The minister, who hails from Gadchiroli, was a minister earlier also in early 90s.

The chinkara case has been haunting Mr Atram for the last few days, and he has finally submitted his resignation. Forest officials and police had raided Mr Atram's farmhouse on July 5.

He is the second minister from the Vilasrao Deshmukh government to have resigned over unsavoury incidents. Earlier, Surupsingh Naik, a senior Cabinet minister, faced one month's imprisonment for giving ''improper permission'' to saw mills.

Last month, the State Transport Minister and his friends had allegedly killed two chinkaras. Some villagers near Bhor taluka reported seeing the minister and his friend partying after killing the chinkaras. Police and forest officials are investigating the case.

If found guilty, the minister and his friends will be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act as chinkaras are an endangered species.

Earlier, Shiv Sena leaders demanded a CBI inquiry into the chinkara killings and had demanded the resignation of State Forest Minister Babanrao Pachpute for shielding them. BJP president Nitin Gadkari had yesterday demanded the resignation of the minister.

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