Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday defended Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, saying it was his personal decision whether to resign or not following his nephew’s arrest in a case of corruption in his ministry.

“It is a personal matter to resign or not,” Nitish Kumar told media persons in Patna to requests for comments on the demand for Bansal’s resignation by opposition parties, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He refused to support the BJP’s demand for Mr. Bansal’s resignation, taking the line of Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, who had also come out in Mr. Bansal’s support.

Backing Mr. Bansal, Mr. Yadav, the convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had said: “If any relative of a political leader is involved in corruption, then what is the fault of that leader. I have known Pawan Bansal for a long time. He has been in Parliament for a long time. What has he to do with anything if his nephew is taking bribe.”

Mr. Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla was arrested last week by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.90 lakh. The bribe was paid to him by two people for getting a senior railway officer, Mahesh Kumar, appointed as a member of the powerful Railway Board.

Mr. Bansal had issued a statement distancing himself from the incident involving his nephew.

Nitish Kumar said that what has happened was sad and unfortunate. “Investigation into the matter will reveal everything,” he said.

Mayawati defends Bansal

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Monday defended Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal saying it would “not be appropriate” to sack him unless his guilt is proved.

“Unless an investigation report (proves his guilt), it will be unfair to seek Mr. Bansal’s resignation,” Ms. Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament House.

“The issue is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and it should not prolong its probe in the case and show its report to the nation as soon as possible,” she said.

“Let the investigation report come. That will make the situation clear and a decision can be taken then,” she added.

Mr. Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla was arrested last week by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.90 lakh. The bribe was paid to him by two people for getting a senior railway officer, Mahesh Kumar, appointed as a member of the powerful Railway Board.

Mr. Bansal had issued a statement distancing himself from the incident involving his nephew.