PATNA: Even as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over probe into Bihar’s Rs1,000-crore Srijan scam, the opposition RJD, Congress and CPI(ML) kept demanding the resignation of CM Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, disrupting even the last day’s proceedings of the state Assembly’s brief monsoon session on Friday.
It was following constant demands by RJD, the main opposition party with the largest number of MLAs in the Assembly, that Nitish Kumar had recommended a CBI probe into the scam last week. But the Opposition parties then started demanding that Kumar and Modi must resign in order to allow a fair probe without government influence.
The scam, which involves pilferage of nearly Rs 1,000 crore of government funds by an NGO named Srijan in Bhagalpur district, took place between 2007 and 2013, during the tenure of the JD(U)-BJP government, when Kumar of JD(U) was CM and Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP was the finance minister.
High drama was seen in both the Houses of the state legislature on Friday as the opposition parties, who have accused Kumar and Modi of having knowledge of the scam from the beginning, insisted on a discussion on it.
With the government unwilling for a discussion, bedlam prevailed in the Assembly and senior RJD legislator and former finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui Siddiqui threatened that no minister would be allowed to speak.
Slogan-chanting RJD MLAs, led by Siddiqui, trooped into the Well of the House. Accompanied by MLAs of Congress and CPI(ML), the RJD legislators then staged a walkout from the Assembly.
Similar protests were seen on the previous four days of the five-day monsoon session of the legislature.
Significantly, Sushil Kumar Modi dragged RJD into the controversy by saying the RJD government led by Rabri Devi, which ruled Bihar between 2000 and 2004, had offered several favours to the NGO in Bhagalpur, Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti (SMVSS).
“Srijan was allowed office space at a government building named Trysam at Bhagalpur in 2000 when Rabri Devi was the chief minister. Srijan was given 24-decimal space in the building on a 30-year lease in 2003 and the lease was later extended for 50 years,” said Modi, quoting from documents. This prompted the ruling JD(U) and BJP members to shout slogans like ‘Chor machaye shor’ (thieves are raising a hue and cry).
Despite continuous protests by the Opposition parties, the government, however, managed to get eleven amendment bills passed during the five-day session.