Oct 06, 2006 at 10:23pm IST

Manu's minister dad resigns

New Delhi: Haryana’s Power and PWD minister Venod Sharma resigned from the Congress-led Haryana Cabinet on Friday.

Sharma is the father of the prime accused in the Jessica Lall murder case Manu Sharma and is understood to have resigned after pressure within the party mounted.

Venod Sharma, considered as one of the most powerful politicians in Haryana, had been under fire after the involvement of his son in the Jessica Lall murder came to limelight.

Sharma, who is also a key aide of Haryana Chief Minister B P Hooda, had resigned as PCC chief earlier when the murder case had surfaced.

The pressure was mounting

Opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) on Friday demanded dismissal of Venod Sharma, following the sting operation by a newsweekly alleging that witnesses in the case were bribed to change their statements.

"Sharma should be booked as a co-accused under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. The provision hold that any person who wins over witnesses or allures them could be booked as a co-accused on the same charges applied to the accused," INLD President Om Parkash Chautala said.

He said the minister should have resigned "on moral grounds" following the Tehelka newsweekly expose and demanded that Chief Minister B S Hooda dismiss him from the Cabinet.

Manu Sharma, son of the minister, is the main accused in the murder of the former fashion model In New Delhi in 1999.

The newsweekly claimed to have carried out a three-month sting against three key witnesses - Shyam Munshi, Karan Rajput and Shiv Dass - who turned hostile in the case leading to Manu's acquittal.

Replying to a question on Transport Minister R S Surjewala objecting to the presence of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at an INLD rally in Meham on September 25, Chautala said Hooda had a minister in his Cabinet who belonged to Punjab as Sharma represented that state in the Rajya Sabha and was also an office bearer of Punjab.

(With PTI inputs)