SHILLONG, Jan 27 - The President of India has accepted the resignation of Meghalaya Pradesh Governor V Shanmuganathan today after allegation of molestation was levelled against him. Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit will take additional charge of Meghalaya.
The Governor tendered his resignation on Thursday from Itanagar as he held the additional charge of Aruncahal Pradesh. Shanmuganathan, a veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist from Tamil Nadu, was sworn in as Meghalaya Governor on May 20, 2015.
�The President has accepted the resignation of Shri V Shanmuganathan, as Governor of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. The President of India is pleased to appoint Shri Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Assam to discharge the functions of the Governor of Meghalaya,� a press release from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said this afternoon.
It further notified that Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya, Governor of Nagaland would discharge the functions of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, in addition to his own duties, �until regular arrangements for the offices of the Governors of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh are made.�
The allegations of molestation against Shanmuganathan first surfaced after a local daily here reported on Tuesday that the former Governor molested a girl candidate, who went to the Raj Bhavan for a job interview for the Public Relation Officer�s post.
According to the daily, Shanmuganathan �hugged and kissed� the candidate during a one-to-one interview at the Raj Bhavan for the post. The daily also quoted the unnamed candidate that personal questions were asked and she was compared to Bollywood actresses.
Shanmuganathan when contacted over the phone denied the allegations on Tuesday, saying, the candidates were like his �children and grandchildren.�
The 67-year-old Governor, however, admitted that he had one-to-one interviews with the candidates on December 8. �We conducted one-to-one interview and also group interviews for the post,� Shanmuganathan said.
However, no formal complaint by way of an FIR has been lodged by the alleged victim so far.
On the other hand, around 100 staff of the Raj Bhavan sent a letter to the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister on Wednesday stating that the former Governor was not acting with dignity and decorum during discharge of his office and therefore should be removed.
In an 11-point letter, they complained that Shanmuganathan had turned the Raj Bhavan into a �young ladies club� and women visited the Raj Bhavan at will.
They further alleged that the former Governor was �rude, arrogant, temperamental and untruthful.� They stated in the letter that Shanmuganathan has whimsically changed some of the arrangements at the historic Raj Bhavan.
Demanding his removal to maintain the dignity and honour of the Raj Bhavan, the staff further stated that his �immoral activities� with women could be verified with not only the staff at the Raj Bhavan, but also with those at Meghalaya House, New Delhi and Kolkata. They claimed to have evidences.
On Republic Day, the Raj Bhavan was surrounded by women activists who undertook a signature campaign for the immediate removal of the Governor.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the State Women�s Commission, Theilin Phanbuh said today a report has been sent to the National Women�s Commission about the allegations. She said the State Women�s commission is waiting for direction from the National Women�s Commission to proceed in the case based on its advice.
On her visit to the Raj Bhavan for the customary tea on the occasion of Republic Day, Phanbuh said that she could sense �anguish and anger� of the staff at the Raj Bhavan.
�We are trying to contact the staff of the Raj Bhavan to file a formal complaint with the State Women�s Commission. So far no formal complaint has been lodged,� she said, adding, the government should constitute a fact-finding committee to probe into the allegations.
Special Correspondent adds from New Delhi: An embarrassed BJP today tried to put up a brave face and said that an inquiry is on to ascertain the truth behind the Shillong Raj Bhavan fiasco. A party office-bearer told this newspaper that they are also looking into reports whether the Governor was targeted because of his tough stand against conversion.
However, this line of defence had few takers in the South Block with indication suggesting that the order for his removal came from the top, sources confided. �The Governor was advised to send his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee at the earliest,� sources disclosed, adding, �Shanmuganathan was asked to put in his papers to ensure a free and impartial probe into the charges against him.�