With the Bihar Opposition gunning for the Nitish Kumar government for purportedly losing its grip on law and order, the administration faced embarrassment as people said to be supporters of his party freed the husband of a JD(U) MLA and former minister in Nitish cabinet within hours of his arrest.
Awadhesh Mandal, the husband of JD(U) legislator from Rupauli constituency in Purnea Bima Bharti, was arrested on charges of threatening witnesses of a murder case. He has several criminal cases against him, which include murder charges.
Purnea Police has suspended the Maranga police station in-charge, from where Mandal escaped, and issued a show-cause notice to the Sadar sub-division officer for “laxity”.
Police said Mandal went to one Sonia Paswan’s home in New Sipahpura area, under Maranga police station, on Sunday evening and reportedly threatened Sonia, and her son Vijay Paswan, against testifying as witness in her husband Chanchal Paswan’s murder case.
Locals soon began protesting against Mandal’s high-handedness and called the police. Maranga police arrested Mandal and some of his supporters for threatening Paswan family.
Mandal had reportedly threatened the family on January 4, too. That case is being heard in the court of additional district judge (4), Purnea.
Within two hours of the arrest, about 20 of Mandal’s supporters, most of them said to be JD(U) cadres, reached the police station and tried to force the station in-charge, Shivshankar Kumar, to register a counter-FIR. Having successfully diverted the police’s attention, they freed Mandal. Bima Bharti, the OBC department minister in the previous Nitish government, could not be contacted.
Calling it a case of police laxity, Purnea SP Nishant Tiwari told The Indian Express: “The local police are answerable as to how a criminal escaped… Everyone knows about Awadhesh Mandal’s criminal antecedents, and Maranga police should have been extra alert.” He said Maranga station in-charge Shivshankar Kumar was suspended and Sadar SDPO Rajkumar Sah issued a show-cause notice.
BJP legislature party leader Sushil Modi said: “Is prevailing over police to free a criminal rule of law? Criminals seem to have got a licence. Is this how Nitish wants to establish law and order? Police morale is at an all-time low due to political intervention.”