R.C.P. Singh quits JD(U) after party seeks response on graft charge

Party workers alleged that he had amassed “huge property” in the name of his family members between 2013 and 2022

August 06, 2022 07:55 pm | Updated August 07, 2022 12:39 am IST - Patna

File photo of Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar with former Union Minister R.C.P. Singh.

File photo of Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar with former Union Minister R.C.P. Singh. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

Former Union Steel Minister R.C.P. Singh on Saturday resigned from the Janata Dal (United) after the party sought an explanation from him over the allegation that he amassed “huge property” in the name of his family members between 2013 and 2022.

In a letter to Mr. Singh on August 4, State party president Umesh Singh Kushwaha asked him to “respond point-wise” to the charges that he purchased as many as 58 plots in the name of his wife and two daughters.

“JD(U) is a sinking ship. Nitish Kumar will never become Prime Minister,” Mr. Singh told reporters after resigning from the party from his ancestral home in Nalanda district. 

Mr. Kushwaha had in the letter to Mr. Singh said, “You have long been working as an official and political worker with party’s unanimously accepted top leader Nitish Kumar. Our leader has given you opportunity with all his faith and full confidence to work as party’s national president, national general secretary (organisation), two-terms in Rajya Sabha and Union Minister. So, you’re also aware with the fact that honourable leader (Nitish Kumar) has been working with zero tolerance on corruption, and even after such a long career in public, he neither amassed wealth nor any blot was cast on him.”

“So, as directed, the party expects you to respond point-wise on the charges,” he added.

“I have all the documents of the plots purchased and all these are mentioned in the income tax returns filed by my daughters and wife. There is nothing wrong and no there was no corruption at all. Let it be probed by any agency,” Mr. Singh said. “The way they (some party leaders) have stooped so low to target me is shocking but I have accepted the challenge.” 

Mr. Singh had recently stepped down as the Union Steel Minister after the party denied him another term in the Rajya Sabha.

Party sources told The Hindu that Mr. Singh is currently not in good terms with either Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or party president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh.

Mr. Singh, a former IAS officer, was once considered close to the Chief Minister as they both hailed from the same district, Nalanda. He has served in different capacities in the past 25 years. He had taken voluntary retirement from service to join politics in 2010.  

The party has accused Mr. Singh of purchasing 58 plots, most of them in Nalanda district, in the name of his wife and two daughters between 2013 and 2022.

His elder daughter, Lipi Singh, is a 2016-batch IPS officer of the Bihar cadre and is currently posted as the Superintendent of Police, Saharsha.

It is alleged that Mr. Singh purchased the plots in the Islampur and Asthawan blocks of Nalanda. According to the documents attached with the letter to Mr. Singh, 20 plots were purchased in the name of Mr. Singh’s daughters and 38 in the name of his wife.

Prime facie it appears to be a case of corruption, and the party will definitely take action after receiving his response”, Mr. Kushwaha told reporters.

The letter also said that Mr. Singh had not disclosed the details of the properties acquired by him in the affidavits submitted to the returning officer during the Rajya Sabha election.

On July 26, 2022, two block-level leaders of the JD(U) in Nalanda district, Suresh Prasad and Sanjay Kumar Patel, had submitted their charges of corruption against Mr. Singh to the party’s national and State presidents.

“These are just the tip of the iceberg and more property details are to be exposed,” they had said.

“I cannot make any comment on these party leaders, only my supporters in the party will tell you about them,” Mr. Singh said. 

However, JD(U) leaders, requesting anonymity, told The Hindu that the corruption charges against Mr. Singh was due to a “fallout between present party chief Lalan Singh and him”.

“Lalan Singh is well-known for making such revelations against his rivals. Earlier, he had done such expose against RJD chief Lalu Prasad too”, a party leader said. “Let’s see where the rivalry, which has surely turned bitter now, ends and how much damage it causes to the party,” he added.

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