Bhubaneswar: Orissa Assembly Speaker Maheswar Mohanty resigned on Monday after the police filed a case against him over sexual harassment charges.
Gayatri Panda, a woman marshal of the Assembly, had last Thursday filed a police complaint against Mohanty. “In order to preserve the dignity of the House and in view of the nasty politics surrounding me I chose to resign," Mohanty told the media on Monday after quitting his post.
"The same people who once praised the manner in which proceedings were conducted and discipline was maintained in the assembly during last four years of my tenure have created an unusual situation over the false charges levelled by a lady employee," he said adding: "it pains me."
CM sacks Minister for ‘conspiracy’
In a related development, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the Governor to sack Sports Minister Debashis Nayak. Mohanty has alleged Nayak was involved in a “conspiracy” against him and had instigated Panda.
"I have lost confidence and trust in him (Nayak). He may please be removed from the state cabinet with immediate effect," the chief minister wrote to the Governor.
Panda, who is the first and only assistant woman marshal in the state assembly and was recently suspended on a negligence of duty charge, had alleged in her complaint that Mohanty harassed her after she refused to oblige to sexual favours.
“I have been working in the assembly since 2001 but I have never faced such humiliation. Mohanty wanted sexual favours from me. When I did not show interest, he started taking vindictive action against me,” Panda had said.
Panda claims she had complained to the secretary of the Assembly on February 21, but he did not take any action.
The Opposition parties led by the Congress had stalled the proceedings of the assembly last week demanding an independent probe into the allegations. Mohanty denied the charge and opted for a probe by the House but that did not satisfy the Opposition.
Police filed a case against the Speaker on Saturday.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)