In a setback to the post-Manohar Parrikar BJP government in Goa months before the state assembly election scheduled next year, the province’s Urban Development and Social Welfare Minister Milind Naik resigned from Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s cabinet on Wednesday night after the INC named him in an alleged sex scandal. Naik said he was resigning from his post as a minister to “ensure free and fair probe into the case”. “I have accepted his resignation and sent it to governor PS Sreedharan Pillai,” Sawant said.
On 30 November, Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar had first alleged, without naming Naik, that a minister was involved in a “sex scandal”. He gave the Sawant-led BJP government an ultimatum of 15 days to act against the minister. Last week, Sawant had said he would act if the survivor in the alleged scandal files a complaint or if the INC named the minister involved.
Goa BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade had challenged Chodankar to name the minister. Tanavade had said if the INC were to name the accused, the BJP would immediately take action. On 15 December, after the 15-day deadline given by the opposition party elapsed, Chodankar publicly named Milind Naik and alleged that the Goa minister had sexually exploited a Bihar-based woman. He said the BJP minister had misused his office, and that he has evidence to back his allegations against Naik.
The Goa chief minister said the government would conduct a proper investigation into the allegations. “We will look into all the evidence that has been provided and take appropriate action,” he said.
Sawant said further that Naik had told him that he would contest the allegation legally. “Whatever allegations have been made against him are at a personnel level,” Sawant said, adding they do not plan to induct any minister in place of Naik.