Kartikeya Sharma, RJD leader and the new Law minister of Bihar, faces arrest in a case of kidnapping and was to surrender before a court in the matter on August 16, the same day he was sworn in as a minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet. According to reports, a warrant against him is out although the minister denies it.
Asked about a minister facing arrest being appointed as the Law Minister of the state, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters on Wednesday he was not aware of any such case against him.
Kartikeya, a member of the Bihar Legislative Council, is among 18 accused in the 2014 kidnapping case. The accused have been charged with hatching a plan to kidnap a builder and murder him.
The RJD leader, however, claims that he was falsely charged and that there is no warrant against him. A court order dated August 12, 2022, notes that no coercive action be taken against him till September 1.
The Opposition, however, has launched a full-blown offensive against Nitish over the induction of a tainted minister in his new Cabinet. BJP MP and former deputy CM of Bihar, Sushil Modi questioned how an accused who was to surrender before a court could manage to land up at the Raj Bhavan to take oath as a minister.
“The warrant against the minister is not a fake document. Kartikeya Singh is the right-hand man of strongman Anant Singh. Nitish must stop this,” Modi said, adding that since he has been appointed as the CM at the mercy of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, several such elements will now be given a clean-chit. “Such ministers should be immediately sacked,” he demanded.
Notably, a survey report released by the Association of Democratic Reforms based on the self-sworn affidavits of 32 of the 33 ministers in Bihar’s new cabinet found that over 70 per cent of the newly sworn-in ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves. The list includes Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
Nitish Kumar quit the NDA in Bihar and formed a government with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and other parties. Six days after Nitish and Tejashwi took oath on August 10, 31 ministers were added to the cabinet, with the RJD retaining a lion’s share. While 11 ministries went to the JD(U), RJD kept 16, Congress 2 and the HAM and an Independent got one each.