Nitish Kumar Changes Bihar's Law Minister Over Criminal Charges
Bihar cabinet witnessed an exchange of portfolios on Wednesday (31 August) within a fortnight of distribution.
RJD’s Kartik Kumar Singh, who was given the law portfolio, was shifted to the sugarcane department amid the ongoing row over his alleged involvement in a criminal case.
The decision came a day before the end of the court-granted relief for Singh against no-coercive action. He was not granted bail in the case and hence, can be arrested after this duration.
Shamim Ahmad, also an RJD leader, replaced Singh as the law minister, a notification issued by the state Cabinet Secretariat Department said. Ahmad held the sugarcane portfolio before his elevation.
It should be noted that the Bihar cabinet came under criticism for having 23 total, or 72 per cent of ministers with declared criminal cases against them.
RJD tops the list of the political parties having the maximum number of ministers with criminal charges against them. 15 out of 17 ministers from RJD have declared criminal charges, and 11 have declared serious criminal charges.
The opposition BJP had been demanding Singh’s removal from the cabinet, alleging that an arrest warrant was pending against him in a 2014 kidnapping case.
The Congress and CPI-ML (Liberation), constituents of the ruling Grand Alliance, had also asked the Nitish Kumar government to reconsider the decision of inducting Kartik Singh into the cabinet.
Kartik Singh is considered close to RJD strongman Anant Kumar Singh who is a four-time consecutive MLA from Mokama. Kartik was elected to the legislative council for the first time in April.
Anant Kumar Singh was disqualified from the legislative assembly in July after he was convicted in a case related to the recovery of an AK-47 rifle and other weapons from his residence.
After today's decision, Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal targeted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's 'zero tolerance policy' saying that he is the one who traps people and saves them.
"Be it Lalu, Tejashwi, Anant Singh or Anand Mohan," he (Nitish Kumar) will save them when they come to him, Jaiswal alleged. "Nitish Kumar is a rubber-stamp CM, following orders from Lalu family," he further said.
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