President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday accepted Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan’s resignation, which came after allegations that he molested a woman at Raj Bhavan. Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit has now been given additional charge of Meghalaya. Shanmuganathan had resigned on Thursday following reports that he had molested a job aspirant when she had met him for an interview.
Earlier on Friday, the Congress condemned V Shanmuganathan’s alleged molestation, saying people in positions of authority need to be extra cautious about staying away from impropriety, ANI reported. Former minister of external affairs and Congress leader Salman Khurshid said standards of moral conduct among officials occupying senior positions are declining dangerously.
“It’s very embarrassing, distressing and painful. I think people in high offices have to be ever so careful,” Khurshid said, adding that the accusations “must be taken care of” if proved false. “If there is even a distant shade of truth, I really hang my head in shame, and I think this is an awful thing that is happening to us.”
On Thursday evening, civil society outfits had staged a protest outside the Shillong Raj Bhavan to demand Shanmuganathan’s removal, according to The Economic Times. Shanmuganathan has vehemently denied the allegations. “I wanted to meet them [the job aspirants] before finalising the candidates, and they all came. I have not done anything wrong,” he had told The Shillong Times.
Around 100 Raj Bhavan employees had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the governor’s removal. The Shillong Raj Bhavan employees alleged that the 68-year-old, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist from Tamil Nadu, had turned the office into a “young ladies club”, further accusing him of compromising the security of Raj Bhavan. They had claimed that Shanmuganathan had committed the crime in the Raj Bhavan premises on December 8, 2016, but the matter had come to light on January 23.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had said he would wait for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to make a decision on whether to sack the governor. Congress leader Tom Vaddakan had demanded Shanmuganathan’s dismissal, saying the governor had turned the Raj Bhavan into a “scandal bhavan”.