Bihar BJP leader booked for hit-and-run case in which nine school kids were killed; Opposition says government protecting him
Opposition leader Tejaswi Yadav accused the government of protecting BJP leader Manoj Baitha and threatened statewide agitation unless he is arrested immediately.
PATNA: The BJP on Monday struggled to limit the damage after anger against its functionary involved in a hit-and-run in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district that killed nine schoolchildren snowballed. Manoj Baitha, general secretary of the BJP’s Sitamarhi district unit, was allegedly driving the SUV that mowed down the children on Saturday. While the police booked him on Sunday night, Baitha is on the run. Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav on Monday accused the government of protecting him and threatened a state-wide agitation unless he is arrested immediately.
“The Nitish government is protecting this BJP leader who caused the death of nine innocent schoolchildren and left 10 badly injured. He was driving in a drunken condition,” said RJD leader Tejashwi, who visited the bereaved families on Saturday evening. “His arrest has been delayed so that the influence of liquor vanishes in him and his violation of the prohibition law cannot be proved.”
Tejashwi Yadav also led a march of RJD leaders to meet Governor Satya Pal Malik and handed him a memorandum about the “extremely alarming law and order situation” in Bihar. “Unless Baitha is arrested by tomorrow, we will organise statewide agitations,” he said after meeting the Governor.Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi of the BJP denied the charges. “The culprit will not be spared. It hardly matters that he is a BJP leader. This government is known for the rule of law,” he said.
Modi also jeered at the RJD for its lenient stance earlier towards its leaders facing criminal charges such as former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin and ex-MLA Rajballabh Yadav.It is yet to be confirmed whether Baitha was driving the SUV that ran over the children near their school on National Highway 77 at Ahiyapur-Jhapaha. Some witnesses have told the police that he was driving the car. Sources said CCTV footage recovered from a toll booth on the highway showed Baitha in the car.