India chief minister resigns amid war widow scam probe

Image caption,
Mr Chavan has denied the allegations

The chief minister of India's western state of Maharashtra has resigned over his alleged role in a scam involving homes for war widows.

Ashok Chavan was ordered by the ruling Congress party to tender his resignation to Maharashtra's governor while the matter was investigated.

Mr Chavan's relatives, army officers and bureaucrats are among those who allegedly acquired apartments.

He denies any wrongdoing in relation to the Mumbai housing project.

Maharashtra is one of India's leading states, contributing more than 40% of the national revenues.

Its capital, Mumbai, is India's financial centre and home to Bollywood, one of the world's largest film industries.

Meanwhile, Suresh Kalmadi, the much-maligned organising committee chief of last month's Commonwealth Games in Delhi, also quit his post in the Congress party on Tuesday.

Mr Kalmadi has been under investigation over claims of corruption at the Commonwealth Games. He denies any involvement.

Mr Chavan, 51, is thought to have offered his resignation to Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi.

It was reported last month that three of his relatives had bought apartments in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai's upmarket Colaba area.

"Pending enquiry, [Mr Chavan's] offer of resignation has been accepted. He has been asked to tender his resignation to the state governor," Congress party general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.

The housing society in Mumbai was originally planned as a six-storey building for war widows.

But it was changed to a 31-storey bulding allegedly without the requisite environmental clearances, says the BBC's Prachi Pinglay in Mumbai.

Also, the apartments have been sold to a number of senior government officials, ministers and retired army officers.

Just days ago, Mr Chavan shook Barack Obama's hand when the US president landed in India.