RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav asks CM to come clean on issue.
Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday denied allegations leveled against him by the Opposition RJD that he has been patronising liquor mafias.
The Opposition RJD had raised questions on the chief minister after Rakesh Singh, who is accused of running a hooch racket in Bihar, was seen standing with him in a photograph.
Rakesh Singh was the JD(U) block president of Udwantnagar in Bhojpur district but was removed from the party’s membership after his photograph was found circulating on various social media platform on Tuesday.
“Neither I nor my party was aware of his background. Action against him was initiated immediately after his involvement with liquor business surfaced,” chief minister Nitish Kumar said during a programme in Patna.
The photograph in question was taken recently in the drawing room of 1 Anne Marg, the official bungalow of chief minister Nitish Kumar. The RJD leader further explained that Rakesh Singh had met Mr Kumar after he had launched a campaign against dowry and child marriage.
Former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav had earlier alleged that a nexus existed between the JD(U) and liquor mafia and also accused the ruling party of receiving funds from them.
“Nitish Kumar must explain how much fund his party has been receiving from mafias involved in the liquor business. We would also like to know how Rakesh Singh remained JD(U)’s office-bearer for so many months despite him being involved in the illegal liquor business in a dry state like Bihar,” Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Tejashwi Yadav said. According to RJD leaders, Rakesh Singh was one of the main accused in a 2012 Ara hooch tragedy case in which more 20 people, mostly dalits, had died after consuming locally-manufactured spurious liquor. The state government has been under attack after five persons died allegedly due to consumption of spurious liquor in Rohtas district last week.
Observers said the controversy may create hurdles for Mr Kumar, who had launched a state-wide liquor prohibition in Bihar. The complete ban on liquor ban was imposed on April 5, 2016, but the state government enforced a fresh prohibition act on October 2, 2016, after the Patna high court had quashed the previous law. Reacting sharply to RJD leader’s statement, JD(U) spokesperson Niraj Kumar said, “Tejashwi Yadav should go and visit Bihar to understand how seriously the prohibition rule has been implemented.”