Eminent lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Monday resigned from all official and Congress Party positions, including as chairman of the Parliament's Standing Committee on Law and Justice and as party spokesman.
In an aggressively worded statement sent via e-mail, Singhvi said that he had been forced to quit because of the controversy surrounding the "distorted CD" sex row, which he described as wishful thinking and pure imagination.
He said that he did not want the controversy to dominate proceedings in Parliament during the remaining part of the budget session, and that was why he was quitting both posts.
He said that he had been blackmailed and threatened by his driver, and he believed that the matter should be addressed by the Privileges Committee of Parliament. He said that he had quit because the Congress leadership had asked him to do so to avoid further damage to the party''s image.
A day earlier, Singhvi lashed out at social media for violating the court ban against dissemination of a "distorted CD", calling it the handiwork of an organized gang.
In a statement, Singhvi said, "It is obvious that the adage ''be you ever are so high, the law is above you'' does not apply to any social media."
He said this media kept uploading the CD, despite the court injunction against it and even after the author had accepted that he had distorted the content out of vendetta.
Singhvi said an organized gang has put the CD on websites for two days to cause "permanent damage". He warned that such lawlessness could hit anyone if not stopped.
After the CD surfaced, Singhvi got an injunction from the court and filed a police complaint against his former driver for blackmailing him. The duo has agreed on a settlement where the driver admitted that he had doctored and morphed the CD, while the Rajya Sabha MP decided not to press for any punishment to him.
The CD episode has also triggered speculation about Singhvi''s status in Congress. His absence at regular briefings, although hardly unusual, set tongues wagging, with his detractors insisting that the senior most spokesperson had been benched. However, some of his colleagues maintain that Singhvi could not be available at the Congress headquarters because of indisposition, and that he would be back to brief the media next week.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has welcomed Singhvi's decision to resign, saying that it was the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.
Singhvi, however, continues to be a Member of Parliament.