Union Minister for Small, Micro and Medium Industries, Virbhadra Singh, of Congress resigned from the Cabinet on Tuesday after Himachal court framed corruption charges against him and his wife Pratibha Singh.
Singh submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his Race Course Residence in Delhi. The PM accepted his resignation and referred it to the President for further procedure.
Singh is facing corruption charges in a case that dates back to 1989 when he was the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. Around that time, both he and his wife were accused of misusing the office powers in favour of some industrialists.
In 2009, Himachal Pradesh police officials charged the political couple under prevention of corruption act, while a chargesheet was filed against them the following year.
A lower court in Himachal Pradesh on Monday framed corruption charges against Virbhadra Singh based on the prima facia evidence against him. An audio CD, which purportedly contained a conversation of an IAS officer, some industrialists, Singh and his wife over alleged monetary benefits, was submitted during the court session.
The former union minister, who offered to resign following the court charges against him, was directed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to wait until the High Court issued its ruling.
However, the opposition parties, mainly BJP and Team Anna members, demanded Singh's immediate resignation.
Singh has denied his involvement in the illegal activities and has dismissed the alleged audio conversations as "fake and doctored" and was tailored to hurt his political reputation.
Meanwhile, he has reportedly accused Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal of joining hands with his political rivals and carrying out a smear campaign against him. He was also said to have raised questions on why Team Anna members are reluctant to act over the cases of corruption against BJP government in the state (Himachal Pradesh).