Busurmankul Tabaldiyev, the head of the National Security Service, tendered his resignation Tuesday after his agency was accused of playing a role in an incident that saw opposition leader Omurbek Tekebeyev detained with a batch of heroin in Poland. Tabaldiyev's first deputy, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's brother Zhanysh, was reported to have been fired on the same day.
"The head of state has signed the resignations of the heads of the republic's National Security Service in order to deter pressure on investigators and commissions set up to look into the situation surrounding Omurbek Tekebeyev, a member of parliament," the presidential press office said.
Tekebayev, an ex-parliamentary speaker of the Central Asian republic, was detained in Warsaw last Wednesday on suspicion of trying to smuggle heroin in his baggage, but was released two days later, when Polish authorities apologized to him saying they were convinced the MP had been the victim of political machinations.
His supporters claimed immediately after his detention that he had been set up and a parliamentary commission said Zhanysh Bakiyev was involved in the scandal.
Although Tabaldiyev tendered his resignation, he pleaded ignorance over the purported frame-up Tuesday.
"I did not know about the special operation," he told members of parliament in the former Soviet state. "Everything was done behind my back. I would like to apologize to Tekebayev."
A RIA Novosti correspondent reported last week that a tape taken from surveillance cameras in Bishkek's Manas airport had been shown to MPs. The footage purportedly showed Tekebayev's bag being separated from other luggage and taken away and then returned in 14 minutes.
Tekebayev joined the opposition after resigning as speaker in February 2006 over a conflict with President Bakiyev, his former ally who swept into power on the back of last March's "tulip revolution."
He has repeatedly accused the incumbent president of failing to deliver on his election promises to fight corruption in the impoverished Central Asian state and led street protests.