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Bihar Education Minister resigns as Opposition raises questions about his ‘tainted past’

Two-time JD(U) MLA and ex-V-C of Bihar Agriculture UniversityMewalal Choudhary is an accused in a recruitment scam. File photo  

Bihar’s new Education Minister Mewalal Choudhury on Thursday resigned, hours after assuming charge. The Governor accepted his resignation with immediate effect and Building Construction Department Minister Ashok Choudhary was given additional charge of the Education Department. 

The Opposition parties had raised questions over Mr. Choudhury’s tainted past and case filed against him in a corruption case. Mr. Choudhury, a two-time JD(U) MLA from Tarapur in Munger district, had earlier on November 16, taken oath as a Minister in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s cabinet. He was later made new Education minister of the State.

On Thursday he assumed charge of the department and went to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The closed-door meeting lasted for an hour and soon afterwards he sent his resignation to the Raj Bhawan which was accepted by the Governor with immediate effect. Ashok Choudhury, Building Construction Minister who also holds other departments as well, was given additional charge of Education department.

 

Mr Choudhury, former Vice-Chancellor of the Bihar Agriculture University of Sabour in Bhagalpur district from 2010-2015, was an accused in a recruitment scam of 167 assistant-cum-junior scientists job (2012-13) in the University. An FIR (35/2017) was lodged against him and others at Sabour police station under sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120(B) of Indian Penal Code. Some accused persons were arrested but, Mr Choudhury secured bail.

“Chargesheet in the case against me has not been filed yet. It was all false and fabricated case against me and filing an FIR doesn’t mean one is guilty”, Mr. Choudhury told media persons on Wednesday. 

However, ever since Mr Choudhary was inducted into the new cabinet of CM Nitish Kumar, Opposition parties RJD and Congress leaders have been questioning Mr Kumar’s “zero tolerance of corruption” claim. On Thursday after Mewalal Choudhury’s resignation, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav slammed CM Nitish Kumar again and said, “You made him a minister and handed him the Education Department. Later you created a drama over his resignation? But, first of all, why did you make him a minister despite knowing all corruption charges against him…you’re the real culprit”.

His party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said, “Mr. Choudhury resigned after Opposition parties' continuous attack on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s claim on zero’s tolerance over corruption. But, the question is how he (Mr Choudhury) was inducted into the Cabinet by Nitish Kumar despite knowing all corruption charges against him?”.

 

Similarly, senior State Congress leader and party spokesperson Prem Chandra Mishra said, “By inducting a person like Mewalal Choudhury into his Cabinet, Nitish Kumar has been thoroughly exposed on his zero tolerance on corruption claim”. 

But, ruling party JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi said, “This, in fact, reflects Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s zero tolerance for corruption and it has set precedent for others.” Party leader and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said, “Mr. Choudhury’s resignation has put a mirror to others.” 

Meanwhile, former Bihar CM and president of Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) Jitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday was sworn in as the pro-tem Speaker of the State Assembly. He was administered the oath of office by Governor Phagu Chauhan. A five –day inaugural session of the newly constituted State Assembly is scheduled to commence from November 23. 

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:11:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-education-minister-resigns-as-opposition-raises-questions-about-his-tainted-past/article33132904.ece

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