Orissa minister resigns over dal scam after meeting CM

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 (PTI) Orissa''s Women and ChildDevelopment Minister Pramila Mallick today resigned in thewake of allegation of a Rs 700-crore scam in purchase of dalfor mid-day meal scheme and Supplementary Nutrition Programme(SNP).

"I have tendered my resignation on my own on moralgrounds for the interest of the BJD party and to keep theclean image of the government intact," Mallick told reportersafter putting in her papers following a meeting with ChiefMinister Naveen Patnaik.

Her department was the nodal agency through which dalwas being given to about 9.5 million beneficiaries including 5million school children.

"It is a sacrifice for the BJD and the partygovernment. I am not afraid of any probe," she said andclaimed she was a victim of conspiracy.

The Chief Minister said he has forwardedMallick''s resignation to the Governor for acceptance.

Action was being taken against former collectors ofDeogarh and Mayurbhanj districts Ambika Mishra and P KMeherda respectively on the same issue, Patnaik said, adding"Whosoever is found guilty, action will be taken."

Claiming that there was no pressure on her to resign,Mallick said she met the chief minister this morning andconveyed her desire to step down to prevent people frompointing fingers at the government "though state vigilancewing has given her a clean chit".

"Subsequently I sent my resignation letter," she said.

Mallick, who had been a minister since 2004, claimedthat she was waiting for the report of the vigilancedepartment before quitting. "Vigilance has given me a cleanchit but I have stepped down on moral grounds."

The BJD government had come under attack fromopposition Congress and BJP in the wake of multi-crore dalscam detected by the vigilance wing in the purchase of pulsesfor MDM and SNP meant for children and women.

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