New Delhi, Jan 28 (PTI) Former chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) S P Gupta on Monday said his decision to quit from the position was personal and had nothing to do with Union minister Maneka Gandhi’s interference in the functioning of the board.Also Read - Reliance Amazon Future Retail: Singapore Arbitration Panel Makes Big Announcement; Top Points

Confirming that he had quit as the AWBI chairman, Gupta told PTI that though Gandhi had been interfering in the functioning of the board, his decision had nothing to do with it as he wanted to focus on his animal shelter in Haryana. Also Read - South Korean Workers Dress Up As 'Squid Game' Characters to Protest For Their Rights | Watch

“Maneka Gandhi has been interfering in our work. We even passed a unanimous resolution against her. But I would not say that she was the reason behind my decision. It was my personal choice. Also Read - Why There is no Urgency to Vaccinate Children Against COVID-19? Experts Explain

“I have a project in Mewat, Haryana, which needs my attention and I am not able to spare time for the AWBI, which is a full time job. Maneka has nothing to do with this,” he said.

However, sources in the government said Gandhi had been rubbing Gupta the wrong way for long, compelling the latter to quit.

They also said the Union minister, who had appointed Gupta in the Board, was unhappy about his decision to part ways with the AWBI but had accepted his resignation.

Gupta, who was appointed the AWBI chairman in December 2017, submitted his resignation on January 25.

Gandhi locked horns with Gupta last year when she wrote a letter to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, alleging irregularities in a panel appointed by the AWBI to evaluate the applications for the use of animal performances.

She had alleged that the board had liberally been granting permissions for performances of animals in films and events in violation of Supreme Court orders.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.