PATNA: Barely hours after taking charge, Bihar’s newly minted education minister Dr Mewalal Chaudhary was forced to resign on Thursday after corruption charges swirling around him threatened to take the shine off Nitish Kumar’s fourth consecutive term as chief minister.
Nitish, who is learnt to have directed the minister to quit, reallotted education as additional charge to Ashok K Chaudhary, who already holds the portfolios of building construction, social welfares, science and tech and minority welfare.
Dr Chaudhary is an accused in a corruption case related to irregularities in the appointment of assistant professors in the Bihar Agriculture University when he was its Vice Chancellor. He, however, tried to brazen it out, saying “no chargesheet has been filed yet,” but couldn’t make the stink go away.
After retiring in 2015, he managed to get the JD(U)’s Tarapur ticket and won the seat the same year. in 2017, a corruption case was lodged against him at Bhagalpur’s Sabour police station based on a directive from the then governor-cum-chancellor, who went by the findings of inquiry panel that examined his appointment of 166 candidates.
The JD(U) then expelled him but he managed to somehow creep into the party about two years later.
How and why no chargesheet has been filed against him yet and how Nitish gave him the weighty portfolio despite his antecedents, remains a mystery. Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav sought to turn the screws against Nitish. “One resignation does not matter. We will take you on on many other issues of public concern,” he tweeted.