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Bihar: NGO scam case rocks both Houses, RJD demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-08-2017 PTI

Patna: Both Houses of the Bihar legislature were on Tuesday rocked by the NGO scam case in Bhagalpur, with the opposition RJD creating ruckus and demanding the resignation of chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

As soon as the assembly sat for the day, former finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui drew the attention of speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary towards an adjournment notice given by his party over the NGO scam and urged him to take up the issue by suspending question hour. But quoting rules, the speaker said that the adjournment would be allowed at the proper time and urged the agitating members to allow the House to function. RJD members then trooped to the well of the house and started raising slogans demanding the resignation of Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi over the case, showing their photographs at a function of the NGO “Srijan” at Bhagalpur.

The opposition alleged that government money was fraudulently transferred into the account of the NGO by a well-oiled racket comprising government employees and those from banks. Nitish Kumar was not in the House at the time as he has gone to Araria to take stock of flood situation there. When all persuasion failed, the speaker adjourned the house till 2pm. As the assembly sat after the recess, RJD members again raised the issue and insisted that it should be taken up first and created ruckus in the House, forcing the speaker to adjourn the house for the day.

While RJD legislators were on their feet, those of its ally Congress did not join them and remained seated . Congress legislature party leader Sadanand Singh, hailing from Bhagalpur district, has also given a separate adjournment notice in the scam case. In the legislative council, the matter was raised by RJD, forcing adjournment of the house till 1pm. RJD legislative party leader Rabri Devi, while talking to reporters outside the Upper House, demanded the resignation of CM and his deputy in the case.

But Sushil Modi trashed the charge. “They should show documentary evidence in support of the charge against me or the CM. Merely shouting by showing some photographs of some events showing our participation does not mean our involvement in the scam,” Sushil Modi told reporters. “If leaders are prosecuted on the basis of photographs, RJD president Lalu Prasad would have to spend life in jail for 100 years as he has wonderful pictures in the company with Mohammad Shahabuddin and many a scamsters,” the senior BJP leader said.

On RJD’s statement that the NGO scam was even bigger than the multi-crore fodder scam case in which Lalu Prasad is facing court cases, Sushil Modi, who was one of the petitioner in the fodder scam case in the Patna high court in the past, said “the two cannot be compared.”

“In the fodder scam case, the kingpin of the scam, S.B. Sinha, was given several extensions in service by RJD government at that time and Sinha was also made local guardian of one of his daughter studying in a Ranchi school at that time,” Modi said. “The nexus between kingpin and Lalu Prasad was not limited to mere photos but much deeper as it surfaced on the basis of clear-cut evidences in the CBI probe,” he said.

Sushil Modi asked, “Money of health department was fraudulently withdrawn by the racket in November last year, can the then health minister Tej Pratap Yadav be held as an accused for it?” Modi also pointed our that the first hint of the NGO’s illegal activity had surfaced in 2002 and 2003, when RJD was ruling Bihar. State police chief P.K. Thakur had on Monday said that investigators have so far detected Rs870.88 crore in the scam, in which 18 accused have been arrested so far.

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