Bihar Education Minister resigns as Opposition raises questions about his “tainted past”

Two-time JD(U) MLA and ex-V-C of Bihar Agriculture University is an accused in a recruitment scam

Bihar’s new Education Minister Mewalal Choudhury resigned on Thursday, within hours of assuming charge, after Opposition parties raised questions about his “tainted past”. The Governor has accepted his resignation.

Mr. Choudhury, a two-time JD(U) MLA from Tarapur in Munger district, had taken oath as a Minister in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet on November 16. On Thursday afternoon, he assumed charge as Education Minister. He then met Mr. Kumar for an hour and soon afterwards sent his resignation to the Raj Bhavan. Mr. Choudhury had met Mr. Kumar on Wednesday as well.

Ever since Mr. Choudhury was inducted into the Cabinet, the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal had been questioning Mr. Kumar about his “zero tolerance” for corruption.

Mr. Choudhury, former Vice-Chancellor of the Bihar Agriculture University of Sabour in Bhagalpur district from 2010 to 2015, was an accused in a recruitment scam of assistant cum junior scientists (2012-13). An FIR was lodged against him at the Sabour police station under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120(B) of Indian Penal Code. Some accused persons were arrested but Mr. Choudhury secured bail.

“Chargesheet against me in the case has not been filed yet,” Mr. Choudhury told media persons on Wednesday. The investigation is still on.

“It was all a fabricated and false case against me…filing an FIR doesn’t mean one is guilty,” he said.

Why did you make him a minister: Tejashwi to Nitish

JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi said, “This reflects Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s zero tolerance for corruption and it has set precedent for others.” Party leader and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said, “Mr. Choudhury’s resignation has put a mirror to others.”

But RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took another dig at Mr. Kumar. “You made him a Minister and handed him the Education department.. Later you create a drama over his resignation. But, first of all, why did you make him a Minister? You’re the real culprit.”

Party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari, said, “Mr. Choudhury resigns after Opposition’s continuous attack on the Chief Minister’s zero tolerance for corruption…but, the question is how was he inducted into the Cabinet by Mr. Kumar despite knowing about corruption charges against him?”

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