Jailed J'khand minister Alamgir Alam resigns from state cabinet

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Ranchi, Jun 11 (PTI) Jharkhand minister Alamgir Alam, who is in jail in connection with a money laundering case, has resigned from the state cabinet and also as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), an official said on Tuesday.

In a letter to Chief Minister Champai Soren from Birsa Munda Central Jail, Ranchi, Alam tendered his resignation as a cabinet minister, he said.

Alam, in another letter to AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge, said, "I hereby submit my resignation from the post of leader of Congress Legislature Party, Jharkhand. I shall remain grateful to the party leadership for providing me an opportunity to work and serve as CLP leader." The Enforcement Directorate had on May 15 arrested the Congress leader in a money laundering case, days after about Rs 32 crore cash was seized from premises linked to his aide.

The opposition BJP in the state last week demanded the removal of Alam from the Champai Soren cabinet.

A BJP spokesperson alleged, "The JMM-led alliance's corruption saga has been exposed before the nation. Alam is accused of a huge tender scam where he and his coterie fixed tenders in lieu of favours. He had crossed all limits of political decency by not resigning ...He tried to follow Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's model where Kejriwal did not resign despite being arrested...But here we won't allow wastage of taxpayers money." The resignation came only after the BJP threatened to hit the streets and gherao the CM secretariat, he said.

A Congress spokesperson said that Alam was due to resign after the Model Code of Conduct was removed.

Earlier, the chief minister had taken charge of all four portfolios held by Alam - Parliamentary Affairs, Rural Development, Rural Works and Panchayati Raj.

The 70-year-old MLA from Pakur was taken into custody at the central agency's zonal office last month under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

He came under the ED radar, following the arrest of his personal secretary and state administrative service officer Sanjeev Kumar Lal (52) and the latter's domestic help Jahangir Alam (42).

During a raid, the agency seized more than Rs 32 crore in cash from a flat linked to them.

The minister had earlier told reporters that he was a "law-abiding" citizen as he sought to distance himself from the activities of Lal, stating that the administrative officer had worked with other ministers of the state government too in the past.

The money laundering investigation pertains to alleged irregularities in the state rural development department.

The ED had said that the names of "senior bureaucrats and politicians" emerged in the case and this was being investigated. PTI NAM BDC

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