NEW DELHI: NSUI national president Fairoz Khan has stepped down from his post following charges of sexual harassment, sources in the Congress said Tuesday.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accepted his resignation, the sources informed.
Khan, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, submitted his resignation Monday evening, saying he quit keeping in mind the party’s interests.
According to sources, Khan said in his resignation letter that he has decided to step down since the charges against him are hurting the party’s image.
He, however, denied the allegations levelled against him by a woman, who is a party worker from Chhattisgarh.
When asked about the resignation, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, at an AICC briefing, said Khan has resigned on moral grounds but this does not mean he is guilty. The party will take action when the charges are confirmed, he said.
“The present NSUI chief on moral grounds has tendered his resignation. But that does not mean he is guilty. When the truth comes out and confirmed, then action will be taken against him accordingly.
“He has resigned on moral grounds and the party chief has accepted it,” Tewari told reporters.
In an apparent reference to Union minister MJ Akbar, who has refused to quit over allegations of sexual misconduct, he said there is a difference between the tradition of the Congress and the BJP.
The Congress leader said during the UPA government, if allegations were levelled against a minister, he would step down on moral grounds. However, this did not mean that the minister was guilty, Tewari said.
“But, that was the Congress tradition… Just opposite to this, in the last 52 months, what this government has done to justify itself and try to prove itself right is clearly wrong. Leave aside a resignation, they are undeterred,” he said.
The Congress had set up a three-member committee to look into the issue after the woman levelled charges of sexual harassment against the chief of its students’ wing.
The panel, which is talking to all the parties concerned, is yet to give its report, the sources said.
The woman had first complained against Khan in June. She had then met Gandhi and other senior leaders of the party demanding action against the NSUI president, who, she alleged, had sexually harassed her and her sister and some other women from the party.
She also lodged a complaint against him at the Parliament Street police station in September, saying that she feared for her life and security.
The allegations against Khan have come in the midst of the #MeToo movement gathering pace in the country.
The Congress was under pressure to act against the NSUI chief as the party is seeking action against Akbar, who has been accused by several former women colleagues of sexual harassment when he served as editor at various media organisations.
The opposition party has attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for keeping quiet about the allegations against Akbar and has demanded the latter’s resignation.