Goa minister for urban development Milind Naik resigned from Pramod Sawant’s cabinet on Wednesday, hours after the Congress accused the minister of sexually exploiting a young woman from Bihar.
“Shri Milind Naik has tendered his resignation as a minister in Government of Goa, to ensure a free and fair probe, which has been accepted and sent to the Hon’ble Governor,” Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant’s office said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The announcement came hours after Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar alleged Milind Naik was involved in a sex scandal that he had first spoken about last month.
Chodankar said he was putting out the minister’s name because the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government hadn’t acted against him despite being given details of the sexual misconduct.
“The minister involved in the sex scandal, Milind Naik, should be sacked and action should be initiated against him. And ministers like Milind Naik who sexually assault women should be not be protected or the people of Goa will not forgive me,” Chodankar told a press conference in Panaji on Wednesday.
Local media reports in Goa, however, quoted Naik rubbishing the Congress allegation, insisting that these were only designed to defame him. “I have nothing to do with this matter,” he said after Chodankar first spoke about the allegations last month but hadn’t identified the minister, saying the opposition wanted to wait for 15 days for chief minister Pramod Sawant to act against the minister concerned.
The Congress leader claimed that the minister was heard on tape sexually exploiting a woman, who he said, among other things, was forcing her to have an abortion.
The Congress said an official complaint has also been filed with the police with the women’s police station against the minister. In the interim period, Chodankar said he also received a legal notice by a law firm claiming to represent the unnamed victim, who the notice said, was from Bihar and warned him against releasing any of the allegedly damning material.
Chodankar said he also hoped Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar takes necessary steps “to safeguard the interests of a daughter of Bihar, against whom a minister in Goa is committing atrocities”.
“Give the required confidence to the woman who is claiming to be from Bihar as per the legal notice I have received and the police complaint that is filed. You are speaking about empowering women in Bihar. Will you stand with your daughter or with the minister in Goa. The people of Bihar and India are watching you,” Chodankar said.