PATNA: Even as the ruling JD(U) appeared headed for a split with the sacking of Sharad Yadav on Saturday from the post of the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, RJD’s Lalu Prasad piled pressure on the government demanding a CBI probe into the alleged embezzlement of Rs 600 crore of government funds by an NGO.
Kumar’s close aide and JD(U) Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh was swiftly named as the party’s new leader in the Upper House in Yadav’s place. The decision to sack Sharad came on a day when BJP national president Amit Shah invited JD(U) to hop onto the NDA bandwagon, which effectively means he is dangling ministerial berths at the Centre to the JD(U).
The party currently has two Lok Sabha and ten Rajya Sabha members. Ali Anwar, one of JD(U)’s major Muslim faces and a Rajya Sabha member, was suspended from the party on Friday for siding with Yadav.
Addressing a public meeting in Madhepura, the Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar he has represented four times before losing in the 2014 polls, Sharad Yadav said on Saturday: “JD(U) is not only Nitish Kumar’s party. It is also my party”. He had said a day before that there were now two JD(U)s in Bihar - “a sarkari (official) JD(U) and the one that belongs to the people”.
Sharad Yadav’s words are being seen as a direct challenge to Nitish Kumar, who has been wielding control over the party after easing out the former out of the national president’s post last year. Yadav began his three-day tour of Bihar on Thursday to mobilise public support against Kumar’s decision to dump the Mahagathbandhan and form a government with the BJP’s support.
Sources said JD(U) is contemplating Yadav’s expulsion from the party during its national executive meeting scheduled in Patna on August 19.
Even as the JD(U) faced internal troubles, RJD’s Lalu Prasad demanded a CBI probe into an alleged embezzlement of over Rs 600 crore of government funds by a Bhagalpur-based NGO.
An investigation by the Economic Offences Wing revealed that over Rs 600 crore had been fraudulently withdrawn from government funds so far, said senior superintendent of police Manoj Kumar.
Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, on August 10 had said that the amount embezzled was around `302.70 crore and that it might rise further. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Lalu Prasad said money had gone out of the state and had been invested in real estate. “One cannot deny the money laundering aspect. Banks are also involved, so a state govenrment agency is not capable of carrying out the probe in a fair manner,” he said, demanding a CBI probe.
He also demanded the dismissal of deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi whom he accused, along with Nitish Kumar, of having links with the NGO’s founder, saying funds could not have been transferred without the knowledge of Modi who held portfolios of finance and commercial taxes for several years.