Two days after senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi accused Lalu Prasad of calling up a BJP MLA to allegedly make him “go absent” during Wednesday’s election for Bihar Assembly Speaker, the legislator from Pirpati, Lalan Paswan, on Thursday lodged an FIR against the RJD chief at Patna’s Vigilance Police Station.
Based on Paswan’s complaint, Vigilance police lodged the case against Lalu Prasad under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
In Ranchi, from where Lalu allegedly called up Paswan, the jailed former Bihar CM was shifted from the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences director’s bungalow to its paying ward.
Lalu is in jail after he was convicted in the fodder scam cases. On Wednesday, the Jharkhand government had ordered a probe into Sushil Modi and Lalan Paswan’s allegation that he had called up the latter and asked him to abstain from voting in the Speaker’s election.
The JD(U) on Thursday demanded that the RJD chief be shifted from jail in Ranchi to Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The party also asked the government in neighbouring Jharkhand to thoroughly probe into alleged violation of jail manuals, with Lalu ostensibly “meeting people for political discussions and keeping a third aide, against provisions of keeping only two aides or sevadars” while in jail.
In his complaint to Vigilance police, Paswan maintained that “Lalu Prasad tried to buy” the vote of an MLA of a political party by trying to allure him with the offer of a minister post in the event the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan forms the government after toppling the Nitish Kumar government in the Speaker’s election.
JD(U) spokesperson Meeraj Kumar told reporters here: “We request the Supreme Court to take cognisance of the matter and request the authorities concerned to shift the RJD chief first to Ranchi’s Hotwar jail from the sprawling Kelly’s bungalow meant for residence of RIMS director.”
Kumar later told The Indian Express that Lalu meeting multiple visitors and engaging in political discussions with them were a violation of
Jharkhand jail manual. “We want the Jharkhand Prisons department to find out how a person called Irfan Ansari has access to Lalu Prasad.
As per rule, Prasad is allowed to keep only two aides. The jail police should also seek call details of the mobile number from which he called Lalan Paswan,” he said.
Kumar also sought the status of a similar probe by Jharkhand I-G (Prisons) Virendra Bhushan in August 2020. Bhushan has ordered a fresh probe into the latest “tape controversy”.
Neeraj Kumar said, “Lalu Prasad will continue to violate jail manual. He should (therefore) be shifted to Tihar Jail.”
Lalu is undergoing treatment at Ranchi’s RIMS Hospital for multiple ailments. In August, he was shifted to the RIMS director’s bungalow to protect him from exposure to Covid-19.
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari told The Indian Express: “Lalu Prasad is suffering from several health complications and it is inhuman for the NDA to demand that he should be shifted from Ranchi hospital to elsewhere. In fact, the JD(U) has been in awe of his persona — the RJD is still the largest party in Bihar.” As for the “tape controversy”, Tiwari said investigations are under way. —With inputs from Abhishek Angad in Ranchi
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