14/06/2016 10:34 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Gopal Rai Relieved Of Transport Portfolio, Jain Given Charge

NEW DELHI, INDIA JUNE 13: Transport Minister Gopal Rai addressing a Press Conference at Delhi Vidhan Sabha in New Delhi.(Photo by K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images)
The India Today Group via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA JUNE 13: Transport Minister Gopal Rai addressing a Press Conference at Delhi Vidhan Sabha in New Delhi.(Photo by K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Senior Delhi minister Gopal Rai was relieved of the charge of the Transport department as sought by him on health grounds, even as the Opposition BJP and Congress termed it a fallout of an ACB probe into the AAP government's app-based premium bus service scheme.

The portfolio of the transport department has now been given to his cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain, who already holds key portfolios of PWD, Health, Power and Home.

Jain, the Shakur Basti MLA, is considered close to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Rai refuted the allegations levelled by the opposition parties saying that he has quit solely on health grounds.

Last week, he had requested Kejriwal to relieve him as Transport Minister as he had recently undergone a major surgery to remove a bullet lodged in his spine.

"Some people are spreading rumour that I have resigned due to Premium Bus Scheme. There has been no corruption in this scheme and my resignation has no connection with it," the former transport minister tweeted.

The departments left with Rai now are Labour, Irrigation and Flood Control, General Administration Department (GAD), Development and Employment.

"The Lt Governor of National Capital Territory of Delhi with Chief Minister of National Capital Territory of Delhi is pleased to allocate portfolio of Transport Department to Satyendar Jain, Minister," a notification issued by GAD yesterday said.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta alleged that Rai has resigned due to corruption in the bus service scheme, in issue raised by him earlier this month.

"There has been corruption in this scheme following which he has resigned as the transport minister. It is an eyewash. I want to ask why Jain has been given transport department despite the fact that he already holds key portfolios. The move indicates something wrong in the scheme," Gupta said.

DPCC chief Ajay Maken alleged that Rai was either guilty in the premium bus service matter, or has been relieved because of inefficient public transport system in the city.

"Only Transport department has been taken away from Rai while allowing him to look after five other departments which exposes the excuse that the move was due to his bad health," Maken said.

Jain had temporarily taken care of the transport department for about 20 days when Rai had undergone a surgery and subsequently physiotherapy treatment in Hyderabad.

Rai yesterday said he had requested the Chief Minister to relieve him from the Transport Department portfolio as it had a very heavy workload.

His physiotherapy is expected to last three months at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in South Delhi's Vasant Kunj.

The two phases of the odd-even scheme were implemented under the leadership of Rai as Transport minister.

Last month, he had announced a Premium Bus Service Scheme to encourage the car users to leave their vehicles and use public transport.

However, the scheme came under scanner of Delhi Government's Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) as Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had refused to give his go-ahead to the scheme.

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