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Pramila Mallik resigns over dal scam

(image) Bhubaneswar: Women and Child Development Minister Pramila Mallick on Saturday resigned in the wake of allegation of a Rs 700-crore scam in purchase of dal for mid-day meal scheme and Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP).

"I have tendered my resignation on my own on moral grounds for the interest of the BJD party and to keep the clean image of the government intact," Mallick told reporters after putting in her papers following a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Her department was the nodal agency through which dal was being given to about 9.5 million beneficiaries including 5 million school children.

"It is a sacrifice for the BJD and the party government. I am not afraid of any probe," she said and claimed she was a victim of conspiracy.

The Chief Minister said he has forwarded Mallick`s resignation to the Governor for acceptance.

Action was being taken against former collectors of Deogarh and Mayurbhanj districts Ambika Mishra and P K Meherda respectively on the same issue, Patnaik said, adding "Whosoever is found guilty, action will be taken."

Claiming that there was no pressure on her to resign, Mallick said she met the chief minister this morning and conveyed her desire to step down to prevent people from pointing fingers at the government "though state vigilance wing has given her a clean chit".

"Subsequently I sent my resignation letter," she said.

Mallick, who had been a minister since 2004, claimed that she was waiting for the report of the vigilance department before quitting. "Vigilance has given me a clean chit but I have stepped down on moral grounds."

The BJD government had come under attack from opposition Congress and BJP in the wake of multi-crore dal scam detected by the vigilance wing in the purchase of pulses for MDM and SNP meant for children and women.

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