Nitish Kumar’s Minister, Facing Probe, Quits Hours After Taking Charge

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Bihar Education Minister Mewalal Choudhary resigned three days after taking oath

Patna:

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s fourth term started with the resignation of a minister three days after he and his 14-member cabinet took oath. Education minister Mewalal Choudhary had to step down after the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal flagged a three-year-old corruption case against him and questioned why he was inducted in the government.

A criminal case was filed against the JD(U) MLA from Tarapur back in 2017 after allegations that he was involved in irregularities in the appointments to posts of assistant professor and junior scientists as the vice-chancellor of Bhagalpur agriculture university.  

He was suspended from the party for a while after jibes from the BJP, which was in the opposition at the time.  

The case was filed and investigations conducted against him after sanction from President Ram Nath Kovind, who was then the Governor of Bihar. No chargesheet has been filed against him yet.

Pointing to that, Mr Choudhary had said filing of a case is no indication of guilt. “There are cases against so many legislators,” he had said, adding that he had not included the matter n his election affidavit as “The probe is ongoing. Nothing has happened”.

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Claiming he was the informer in the case and not the wrongdoer, he had also targeted RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, who had spearheded the attack against him. Mr Yadav, he said, had corruption cases against him and should not be the one to point fingers.

In a series of tweets, Tejashwi Yadav had accused four-time Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of appointing “criminals” to retain power in state.

“Power is protecting criminals… Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has granted exemption to loot and robbery by appointing Mewalal Chaudhary… the Chief Minister will continue his discourse on Crime, Corruption and Communalism to save his chair… None of the minority communities were made ministers,” he posted.

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