Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today mocked Lalu Prasad for holding a rally at Bhagalpur on the Srijan “scam” issue by calling it a “suicidal street play” and said the RJD supremo should approach the judiciary for a court-monitored CBI probe into the matter. “It was a suicidal street play (atmaghati nukkad-natak) which will cost him (Prasad) heavily,” he told reporters while commenting on the public meeting of the RJD chief and his son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav at Bhagalpur yesterday. “Go to the Supreme Court or high court to say that you do not have faith in the CBI and ask them to monitor the central probe agency’s inquiry into the Srijan scam,” Kumar said on the demand of Prasad and his partymen.
Talking to reporters after his weekly ‘Lok Samvad’ (interaction with the public) programme, the chief minister said there was no point in getting into a debate with the RJD over the Srijan “scam” when a CBI probe was underway.
“If anyone has any document against anybody related to the scandal, it should be handed over to the CBI,” he added.
Prasad and Tejashwi, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, had yesterday come down heavily on Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi (BJP) and demanded that they spelt out the details of “every penny embezzled” by the Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Ltd, a Bhagalpur-based NGO.
Prasad wanted to know why FIRs were not lodged against Kumar, Modi, Union minister Ashwini Choubey and others in connection with the matter, which, he claimed, was nothing short of a “maha ghotala” (big scam). The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief has also been making snide remarks against Kumar and Sushil Modi. “Some persons forget ‘maryada’ (decency) in politics. I believe in work, instead of wasting time arguing with them,” Kumar said in an oblique dig at Prasad. He also claimed that everyone got to know about the Srijan “scam” after he brought it to the public domain on August 9.
During the hour-long interaction with reporters, the Janata Dal (United) national president answered a barrage of questions on rebel party leader Sharad Yadav calling a national executive meeting in Delhi on September 17.
“Will a political person sit idle? Everyone has the right to get engaged in political activities. Everyone has seen how many legislators, parliamentarians and office-bearers of the party attended their programme and how many of them are with us. “The publicity he (Sharad Yadav) has drawn from the media in the last one-and-a-half months, he had never drawn in the last 40 years of his political career,” he said.
On the outcome of demonetisation, Kumar, who had supported the Centre’s move even when he was with the Grand Alliance by describing it as a “fight against black money”, said money had returned to the banks and the owners of the money had to explain about it. He added that he had suggested earlier also that scrapping high-value currency notes alone would not yield the desired result, unless there was a simultaneous attack on benami properties. “I am happy that an attack has been launched against benami properties,” Kumar said, in an apparent reference to the CBI probing cases against Prasad and his family members.
On a question on the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, Kumar said the investigation should unearth the truth behind the incident. “Had this happened in Bihar, there would have been a hue and cry all over the country. The Karnataka government should crack the case soon,” he added.