Gopal Rai quits as Delhi transport minister

New Delhi, June 14: AAP leader Gopal Rai said on Tuesday he had quit as Delhi’s Transport Minister on health grounds but denied it had anything to do with corruption charges hurled at him. After the transport portfolio was handed over to Health Minister Satyendra Jain, Rai met officials of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and Lt. Governor jeeb Jung who he said had no case against him. “I have only given up the transport portfolio because it is a 24-hour job and gives too much strain which I am not able to take,” Rai told IANS. “I have been telling (Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal for the past one week to relieve me of this portfolio,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader added. “Transport portfolio is one portfolio which demands 24 hour attention that someone like me can’t provide any more.”

The minister said he would continue to retain the departments of Labour, Employment, Development, Irrigation and Flood Control that he described as relatively “light portfolios”. Rai, who limps because of a gunshot injury he received as a student activist, said he was set to undergo three months of medical treatment at a hospital here for spine and heart related issues. Rai had said on Monday that he was prepared to go to jail if charges of corruption in an app-based premium bus service scheme were proved. He also said he would meet ACB officials on Tuesday.

The minister said he did that on Tuesday and quoted ACB chief M.K. Mee as saying there was “no corruption charge” against him, only “golmol” allegations. “I told them to furnish proof if I have induldged in corruption. They were clueless,” he said. The allegations have been levelled by the Bharatiya Jata Party. The ACB, which was origilly with the Delhi government, is now controlled by the central government.

Rai, who has been a minister since the AAP took power in February 2015, later went to Lt. Governor Jung who reportedly told him that he had received no corruption charge against him. “The allegations against me are politically motivated,” Rai told IANS. As transport minister, Rai oversaw the Delhi government’s two rounds of odd-even traffic scheme aimed at battling pollution in January and April. Rai is also one of the most visible faces of the AAP in Delhi.  (IANS)