Nitish Kumar draws RJD fire for appointing scam-tainted Mewalal Choudhary education minister

The main opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Tuesday attacked Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for appointing JD(U)’s Mewalal Choudhary as education minister three years after he was sacked from the party for alleged involvement in a corruption case when he headed the Bihar Agriculture University.

Choudhary, the JD (U) MLA from Tarapur, was expelled from the party in 2017.

“The corrupt JDU MLA Mewalal has been given a ministerial position by Nitish Kumar. This is the double standard of Nitish Kumar, the patron of 60 scams. This man can fall to the lowest level for a chair,” the RJD tweeted in Hindi.

Choudhary was accused of irregularities in the appointment of assistant professors and junior scientists at the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) in Bhagalpur when he was its vice-chancellor.

According to sources, an FIR was lodged against him on February 20, 2017 with the Sabour police station in Bhagalpur on the directives of the then Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind, who set up a probe committee after several applicants alleged irregularities in appointments.

Choudhary was booked under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine of forged document) and 120 (B) (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Three days after the FIR was lodged against him, Choudhary was expelled from the JD(U), party sources said.

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, the then Opposition leader, had said, “We demand his immediate arrest. If he is not arrested, we will raise the issue in the House.”

On August 22, 2017, the Patna high court granted Choudhary anticipatory bail. In January 2018, he was taken back into the JD (U).

Choudhary was the founder V-C of the BAU from 2010 to mid-2015. BAU sources said the university had in 2011 issued an advertisement seeking applications for 281 posts of assistant professor-cum-junior scientist. The appointments were made against only 161 vacancies under general category in 2012. BAU is an autonomous institute under the Bihar government, established in 2010 under Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Choudhary joined the JD (U) in October 2015 after his stint as VC.

Sujit Kumar, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Bhagalpur range) said till date police filed a charge sheet against only two persons in the case. Investigation is on and supplementary a charge sheet would be filed against more suspects.

Meanwhile, former IPS officer Amitabh Kumar Das on Tuesday wrote a letter to the Director General of Police and sought a probe into the mysterious death of Mewala’s wife and former MLA Neeta Choudhary on June 2, 2019. Das said he suspected that Neeta might have known about corruption in the agriculture university.

When contacted, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said he did not have any information on the entire episode.

Choudhary remained combative. “The state government is looking into it and the IPS officer will be served legal notice,” he told reporters.

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