A day after a special CBI Court in Ranchi sentenced RJD chief Lalu Prasad to five years imprisonment and imposed a Rs 60 lakh fine on him, RJD vice president Shivanand Tiwari alleged that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was also “involved” in the fodder scam and had “taken the money from the kingpin Shyam Bihari Sinha”.
Tiwari’s statement came after Nitish Kumar said that the leaders who were involved in filing the petition against Lalu Prasad, are working as advisors of the party and sitting close to him.
“Nitish Kumar has become vocal these days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave him the socialist leader certificate. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi had alleged that Nitish Kumar was also involved in the fodder scam and took money after illegal withdrawal from the treasuries of Jharkhand (then Bihar). Does Nitish Kumar have the guts to admit the allegation levelled by Sushil Kumar Modi. I am also challenging Sushil Kumar Modi to repeat the allegation he had levelled on Nitish Kumar again,” Tiwari told IANS.
“Shyam Bihari Sinha was the kingpin of the fodder scam. Can Nitish Kumar deny that he has not met Shyam Bihari Sinha in his entire life. I am challenging that he had close links with Shyam Bihari and took bribe in this case,” Tiwari said.
Tiwari said that he has no hesitation in saying that he was one of the petitioners against Lalu Prasad in the court to demand a CBI inquiry into the matter.
“The fodder scam was first unearthed by the Deputy Commissioner-cum District Magistrate of Chaibasa district (Now in Jharkhand) in the first quarter of 1996. He detected that some illegal withdrawal of money took place from the district treasury by the Animal Husbandry Department. The matter reached the finance secretary of Bihar BS Dubey. At that time, Lalu Prasad was in power. He had given direction to investigate the matter. Following his direction, BS Dubey initiated an inquiry into various treasuries and found illegal withdrawal from Dumka, Doranda and Chaibasa treasuries,” Tiwari said.
“The leaders in the opposition did not find the irregularities. It was found by the deputy collector of Chaibasa. The BJP and JD-U leaders had used it as a weapon to show dominance on Lalu Prasad. At that time, George Fernandes was the president of the JD-U. He pointed out that if our party will not file a case against Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam, how will the people of Bihar onsider his party and vote for it. It was a political strategy of George Fernandes to get the upper hand in this case as BJP leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi, Ravi Shankar Prasad and others were trying to take the lead in it,” Tiwari said.
“George Fernandes asked Nitish Kumar to sign the petition which he refused. After his refusal, George Fernandes asked me to sign the petition. I was in Delhi. He had sent an air ticket to me. I returned to Patna and signed the petition in the house of Ravi Shankar Prasad. Besides me, Saryu Rai, Sushil Kumar Modi signed the petition. I was in the JD-U then and had signed on behalf of the party as Nitish Kumar refused to sign it,” Tiwari said.
“The first petition prepared in the house of Ravi Shankar Prasad was filed in the court in desperation. BJP leaders were wanting to take the credit for it and show before the public that they are fighting against Lalu Prasad. The second petition was filed by Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, the national president of the party. In that petition, Lalan Singh, Vrisan Patel and Jitan Ram Manjhi were petitioners. In both the petitions, we have demanded a CBI inquiry,” Tiwari said.
“Now, Nitish Kumar is saying that individual leaders have not filed the petitions against Lalu Prasad. It was a decision of the party,” Tiwari said.
“Lalu Prasad was the strongest leader of Bihar at that time. The JD-U didn’t have the courage to defeat him. It was a strategy of the BJP and JD-U to drag Lalu Prasad to the court as they were unable to contest against him. The actual motive of filing the case against Lalu Prasad was to remove him from power and make Nitish Kumar the chief minister of Bihar,” Tiwari claimed.