Poaching and horse trading, allegedly by the jailed RJD president Lalu Prasad, figured in the discussions inside the Bihar Assembly and outside on Wednesday.
The person who spilled the beans was none other than former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi who is known to have no love lost for Lalu since their student days.
It is claimed that MLA Lallan Paswan was closeted with Sushil Modi at his residence when he got a call from Lalu Prasad who allegedly asked him to support the RJD candidate for the Speaker’s post.
“The government will be defeated on the floor of the House and you will be made a minister,” Lalu reportedly assured Paswan.
The alleged conversation was reported by Modi who claimed he even rang up Lalu and asked him to desist from such nefarious activity.
Lalu is currently lodged in Kelly's Bungalow in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi which has been converted into a makeshift jail. The bungalow, which is meant for the director of the institute, is at the heart of the current controversy.
However, despite the political ruckus caused by the disclosure there was no word from the Jharkhand government which is responsible for Lalu’s custody; no inquiry has been instituted in the matter by the jail superintendent either.
Incidentally, Lalu’s party RJD is a part of the UPA government in Jharkhand and one of its MLAs is a minister in the Hemant Soren ministry.
Meanwhile, a PIL was filed in the Ranchi High Court on Wednesday seeking the shifting of Lalu Prasad from the bungalow, where he is serving his sentence in the multi crore fodder scam.
The PIL has been filed by a Patna-based BJP leader and lawyer Ratnesh Kushwaha. Kushwaha, in his PIL, has alleged that rules of Jharkhand jail manual were being violated for months now; Lalu was being treated as a State ‘guest’ and not a convicted prisoner.
The 72-year-old RJD leader had been shifted to the RIMS Director’s bungalow in August 2020 to keep him insulated from Covid 19 at the hospital. Yadav, who is a diabetic and has kidney and heart ailments, was earlier shifted to RIMS on August 29, 2018, from Ranchi Jail after he suffered health complications.
The PIL has further alleged that while Lalu was staying in the bungalow of the Director of RIMS, the Director himself has been forced to stay in a guest house.
According to Kushwaha, even though Lalu has been claiming that he is ill, the RJD chief, for months, had been meeting guests, relatives and ticket aspirants for hours during the Bihar elections. There was no restriction on his movement either, unlike those on any other convicted prisoner, and he was freely using his cell phone to hobnob with his family and colleagues.