PATNA: Within three hours of joining his duties as education minister in Patna Secretariat, Mewalal Chaudhury on Friday resigned from the Nitish Kumar cabinet. He had met the chief minister Nitish Kumar and state JDU president, Bashistha Narain Singh on Thursday before joining the post today. His name plate was also displayed in the state secretariat as he joined the post.
Official sources in CM secretariat claimed minister was sacked on orders of the chief minister.
Mewalal, newly elected JDU MLA from Tarapur in Munger district was inducted into the Bihar cabinet on November 16. He had again called on CM today and submitted his papers. Now, there are 14 ministers, including CM in the cabinet. JDU has five ministers.
He was welcomed in the state secretariat by senior officers, including principal secretary of the department.
BJP central leadership was not against continuation of Mewalal Chaudhury, a charge sheeted accused in Vigilance police station and at Sabour police station as it was creating an image of the NDA government.
Leader of opposition in the dissolved state assembly, Tejashwi Yadav had been demanding minister's resignation from Monday alleging he was involved in criminal cases. RJD president Lalu Prasad in his tweet from jail had also commented on the induction of a charge sheeted accused in his cabinet. He said BJP had promised 19 lakh jobs in its manifesto, but Nitish Kumar started the process of employment with appointing a charge sheeted accused.
BJP was facing a crisis into its image as the list of the new ministers was prepared in consultation with the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal with the chief minister. Now, BJP wants names of the JDU legislators would also be screened by the BJP leadership before they are allowed to take oath in the NDA cabinet,
Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president Madan Mohan Jha had also challenged the appointment of Mewalal in Nitish cabinet and had threatened to launch dharna at Raj Bhawan demanding his resignation.
Former deputy chief minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, as then leader of opposition in 2014 had started a campaign against Mewalal, who was vice-chancellor of Agriculture University, Sabour alleging he made irregular appointments of teachers by accepting bribes. Issue was raised in both the Houses of the state legislature too and opposition had demanded his arrest.
Following an investigation conducted by Justice SMM Alam, retired Judge of Patna High Court on the instructions of the Governor cum Chancellor charges against him were found proved and vigilance; police registered cases against him at Patna and Sabour. Arrest warrant was issued against him and his offices and residences were raided at different parts of the state.
Mewalal is presently on an interim bail and contested the assembly elections from Tarapur.
His wife Ms Neeta Chaudhury, also a former MLA of JDU had died under mysterious circumstances in the kitchen on May 27,2019.
Amitabh Kumar Das, an IPS of 1994 batch on Tuesday wrote a letter to the DG of Police, S K Singhhal, seeking constitution of a special investigation team to probe Mrs Chaudhury's mysterious death .Das alleged death of Mrs Chaudhury was a big ;political conspiracy and linked to the scandals in the Agriculture University headed by Mr Chaudhury.
Das said SIT was constituted by Bihar police to probe death of film star-Sushant Singh Rajput and team was sent to Mumbai. "I hope Bihar police will show the same alertness in Neeta Chaudhury case and start intensive questioning of Mr Chaudhury," he said.
Das said FIR is already lodged at Sabour police station against Mewalal Chaudhury,retired VC of Agriculture University there.
Mewalal Chaudhury comes from a politically and economically influential Kushwaha-Koeri caste in Bihar, now allied with the JDU.