A day after Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Bihar Chief Minister for the seventh time, the Education Minister in his government, JD(U)’s Mewalal Choudhary, has come under attack from the Opposition over a corruption case against him.
RJD MP and spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha told The Indian Express, “The choice of Mewalal Choudhary as education minister makes such a loud statement about the CM’s weakened position in the new scheme of things post-verdict. A clear message has gone to Bihar that one cannot expect anything positive from the government with these kinds of choices dominating the constitution of the cabinet.”.
Jha said Nitish Kumar tried to take a “high moral ground” over a “non-case” of corruption when he walked out of the Grand Alliance in 2017, bringing down the coalition government with RJD and Congress.
The case pertains to Choudhary’s tenure as vice-chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University at Sabaur in Bhagalpur. He and about 50 others had been first booked in 2017 under IPC sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B. The matter pertained to alleged discrepancies in appointment of 167 assistant-cum-junior scientists at the newly-opened agriculture university during Choudhary’s tenure as V-C between 2010 and 2015. He declared it in his 2020 election affidavit and was elected MLA from Tarapur in Munger.
Bhagalpur DIG Sujit Kumar said, “The Sabaur case in which Mewalal Choudhary is one of the accused has been under investigation. The chargesheet has been filed against two persons, which does not include Choudhary. Supplementary chargesheets could be filed.” Choudhary is on bail.
While Choudhary could not be contacted, JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said, “He has not yet been chargesheeted in the case unlike RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who stands chargesheeted in the IRCTC case.”
Bihar Assembly proceedings were stalled in March 2017 soon after the case was lodged. It was the BJP, then in Opposition, that took up the matter aggressively.
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