President Pranab Mukherjee as advised by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has accepted the resignations of Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar with immediate effect.
As advised by the Prime Minister, President Mukherjee has directed that the additional charge of the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Law and Justice shall be given to Dr. C. P. Joshi and Kapil Sibal respectively.
In a swift and decisive move, the Congress Party dropped both Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Union Cabinet yesterday in view of the charges of corruption and impropriety surrounding the duo.
The decision in this regard came soon after Congress President Sonia Gandhi met the Prime Minister and it was decided that both the ministers should be asked to put in their papers to contain any further damage to the UPA Government.
The government was finding to difficult to defend Law Minister Ashwani Kumar after the Supreme Court's scathing remarks over changing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) status report in the coal scam.
Kumar today stated that he had one no wrong, but had submitted his resignation following the outbreak of controversy.
Meanwhile, Bansal's ouster from the Cabinet became inevitable after it became clear that the CBI was all set to question him following the arrest of his nephew Vijay Singla in the cash-for-votes scam.
The arrest of Singla and media revelations about his family's business transactions and bank loans had caused the government major embarrassment.
In his resignation letter, Bansal maintained that he was not aware that his nephew was in contact with Railway Board Member Mahesh Kumar but he still thought it proper to step down.
64-year-old Bansal, who was made Railway Minister in October last year, said he looks forward to an expeditious investigation into the allegations.
The CBI had earlier on Thursday grilled Bansal's personal secretary Rahul Bhandari, a 1997 batch Punjab cadre IAS officer, who is believed to be privy to all the crucial decisions taken in the Railway Ministry.
Bansal had earlier told the Congress leadership, including the Prime Minister, that he has no business links with his nephew.