Bihar: Minister, accused of corruption, resigns hours after taking charge

Shalini Ojha
·3-min read

Bihar: Minister, accused of corruption, resigns hours after taking charge
Bihar: Minister, accused of corruption, resigns hours after taking charge

19 Nov 2020: Bihar: Minister, accused of corruption, resigns hours after taking charge

Three days after taking the oath along with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Bihar's Education Minister Mewalal Choudhary tendered his resignation today.

His decision came after corruption allegations against him rocked the newly-formed cabinet.

Earlier, he said an accusation only stands ground when a charge-sheet is filed or a court gives an order. In this case, none of it happened, he highlighted.

Context: Kumar and 14-member team took oath this week

Choudhary was among the 14 ministers who took oath along with Kumar. The JD(U) chief was appointed to the top post after NDA registered a slim victory in Bihar Assembly polls.

However, the fourth straight term of Kumar was soon embroiled in a controversy when it was alleged that Choudhary supported corruption when he was the Vice-Chancellor of Bhagalpur Agriculture University.

Case: Allegedly, there were irregularities in appointments

The case concerns irregularities in appointments of assistant professors and junior scientists at the university.

An investigation into the charges began after Ram Nath Kovind, who was Bihar's Governor at the time, sanctioned the same.

In 2017, a criminal case was also filed against Choudhary, but no charge-sheet has been submitted yet.

Unsurprisingly, soon after Choudhary's appointment, opposition RJD slammed Kumar.

War of words: Tejashwi Yadav said Kumar was protecting criminals; Choudhary defended himself

Leading the charge against Kumar, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav said, "Power is protecting criminals...Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has granted an exemption to loot and robbery by appointing Mewalal Choudhary. (sic)"

In response, Choudhary claimed he was the informer and not the guilty party.

Reminding Yadav of the corruption charges against him, he said a probe in the matter was underway.

Fact: "Nothing has happened"

"I have not written anything (about corruption in my election affidavit). No one is above the law and a case is pending in court. Not even a charge-sheet has been filed. The probe is ongoing. Nothing has happened," he told NDTV.

Video: In one video, Choudhary was seen forgetting National Anthem

If the corruption allegations weren't enough, RJD shared an undated video of Choudhary where he was seen fumbling while singing the National Anthem. Standing close to the tricolor, with people around him, the minister struggled to mouth the correct lines.

"Nitish Kumar ji, is there any shame left? Where did the conscience sink?," RJD wrote on Twitter, along with the video that went viral.

Fact: The clip can be viewed here

Polls: Kumar returned to CM's office, but not with same power

This week, a diminished Kumar was sworn-in for the fourth consecutive term. NDA won Bihar only because of BJP's powerful performance. While the saffron party won 74 seats, out of the 110 it contested, ally JD(U) settled for 43 seats out of 115 seats it fought on.

RJD, which won 75 seats, has been attacking Kumar for scoring fewer seats, yet becoming the CM.