Dhaka: Bangladesh's embattled Railway Minister Suranjit Sengupta Monday resigned from his post four months after assuming office following the last week's midnight cash scandal.
"I am resigning for the sake of impartial investigations," he said at a press conference, referring to the controversy surrounding the recovery of huge stashes of cash from the car of his assistant personal secretary.
Sengupta, a veteran parliamentarian and senior leader of the ruling Awami League, said he was resigning to set an example in the "country's 40 years of history" accepting "the blames of all failures in my shoulder".
Earlier in the day, he submitted the resignation letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He said Prime Minister Hasina agreed to his decision as he conveyed his willingness to quit the cabinet last night.
Sengupta expressed hope that the "truth" will come out through investigation.
He took oath as minister on November 28 last year.
Sengupta's resignation came a week after one of his aides and the two railway officials were going to his residence at around midnight when their car driver suddenly pulled the vehicle over to the high security Border Guard Bangladesh's (BGB) Pilkhana headquarters and they told the border guards that there were stashes of bribe money inside the car.
An amount said to be as high as Taka 70 lakh with no known source of origin was reportedly found in their possession. The border guards freed them along with the amount next morning after overnight grilling.
The recovery created sensation due to the identities of the persons who were inside the APS's car and their statements that they were going to the minister's residence.
Sengupta has said that he did not have any "direct or indirect" link with the money.
Sengupta said that he would not speak to the media until the primary investigation was completed while also declined to reply to any question from the journalists.
"I hope the investigations will be completed within soonest possible time... This will unearth everything," he said.
Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and civil society groups had demanded his resignation.
"I have resigned giving the countrymen and the civil society a sense of relief," Sengupta said.
Sengupta on Sunday said he fired his APS Omar Faruq while the ministry suspended railway general manager Yusuf Ali Mridha and divisional commandant of its security force Enamul Huq on the basis of their statements before an investigation committee.
Mridha and Haque have been asked not leave Dhaka until further orders. Earlier, they appeared before an investigation committee of the ministry as summoned for their statements while Faruque apparently preferred to ignore the summon as he did not appear for the committee headed by a joint secretary.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank officials said they were set to issue a directive asking all commercial banks to freeze Faruque’s bank accounts and examine the accounts of the two others.
In a related development Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Monday said it has launched an investigation into the scandal and the alleged "recruitment trade" in the railway ministry.
First Published: Monday, April 16, 2012, 14:15