The cloud of doubt over the fate of the grand alliance of Bihar has finally lifted with chief minister Nitish Kumar resigning after claiming that it was difficult to work with alliance partners Congress and the Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
He clarified that despite reports, he never asked for anyone’s resignation and he only wanted alliance leader Lalu to explain the corruption charges.
Nitish and his loyalists have time and again reiterated that the government will not tolerate corruption. After all, for more than ten years, Nitish's "clean image" and the government's 'no tolerance for corruption', is what has kept the JD(U) government consistently in power in Bihar.
The constant corruption charges against Lalu and his family was not just making it difficult for the chief minister to run a "corruption free" government but it also seemed difficult to explain a discordant political alliance with absolutely nothing in common.
Nitish Kumar was elected on a plank of good governance and zero toleration towards corruption. But with more and more corruption charges cropping up against Lalu, and Nitish still remaining silent on the issue, Sushashan Babu's reputation is under threat.
Since Nitish took over as chief minister, the face of Bihar has changed for the better. He has been able to tame the jungle raj and bring about development in the state.
Let's take a look at the corruption charges levied against Lalu and his family which made Nitish finally break the alliance:
The latest in the spree of charges against the Lalu family was the BJP alleging that a petrol pump owned by Tej Pratap was acquired illegally. The license of the petrol pump was terminated by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
Tej Pratap Yadav had been given the licence for the petrol pump in 2011, though the land was in the name of an entrepreneur, Amit Katyal. It is now in the name of a company called AK Infosystems, in which Tejashwi is a director, NDTVreported.
Prior to this, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out searches at 12 locations in a case of alleged irregularities in awarding the tender for maintenance of hotels in Ranchi and Puri. The case registered against Lalu is of criminal conspiracy (120-B), cheating (420) under IPC and corruption, Additional Director of CBI, Rakesh Asthana said.
He said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched in pursuance of which BNR hotels of Indian Railways located at Puri and Ranchi were first transferred to the IRCTC and later on for its operations, maintenance and upkeep, it was given on lease to a private firm Sujata Hotel pvt ltd based in Patna.
The allegation levelled is that the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing, which is known to the family of Lalu, at a very low cost.
The Income Tax department had previously charged Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi, his son and daughters under the Benami Transactions Act in connection with its probe into land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore and tax evasion.
The department served notices of attachment of assets to Lalu's daughter Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar, Rabri and son Tejashwi Prasad.
The department has attached immovable assets such as land, plots and buildings in Delhi and Patna which bear a "deed" value of Rs 9.32 crore but the taxman has estimated their current market value at Rs 170-180 crore.
A total of nine plots in Phulwari Sharif in Patna, where a mall is reported to have been coming up, has also been attached by the tax department. Tax department officials had said Prasad's kin held some of the properties under their scanner in a "benami" way.
Lalu and his family are also an accused in the fodder scam, which is now a 21-year-old case against the RJD leader.
The fodder scam is regarding large-scale embezzlement of government funds, made by producing fake bills to substantiate payments that were never made. The fraudulent transactions were made in the name of procuring cattle feed over a period of 20 years.
When BJP state unit chief Sushil Modi filed a PIL in the Patna High Court in 1997, demanding a CBI enquiry in the case, Lalu’s involvement was found out.
"A large amount of money was withdrawn from the government’s treasury. In short, it was a loot of government’s money by the government’s officials backed by the political leadership. About Rs 950 crore was looted by government officials in ten years. It was a huge thing for all of us at that point of time," Asthana said.
BJP leader Sushil leader also levelled allegations against Lalu and his family and held about 10 press conferences, alleging multiple instances of corruption. On each occasion, he has released documents that, he says, were evidence.
He alleged that Hema Yadav, daughter of Lalu, had acquired a "benami" plot worth Rs 62.10 lakh as a "gift" from a grade four employee of the railways, a charge denied by the RJD. He claimed that Hridayanand Choudhary had given his 7.75 decimal land in Patna worth Rs 62.10 lakh to Hema, according to PTI.
He had also accused Rabri Devi of acquiring valuable land alloted to minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui and former minister Sudha Shrivastava when she was the chief minister of Bihar. "By misusing her position as chief minister, Rabri Devi had acquired land worth Rs10 lakh each alloted to Siddiqui and Sudha Shrivastaa by MLA Cooperative," Sushil Modi alleged.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Jul 26, 2017 08:20 pm | Updated Date: Jul 26, 2017 08:23 pm