Opposition attacks Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for appointing ‘tainted’ Mewalal Choudhary as education minister

Mewalal Choudhary had left the job to contest state elections from Tarapur Assembly seat in 2015. (Image source: IE)

A day after taking oath as the chief minister of Bihar for the fourth consecutive term, Nitish Kumar is under fire for appointing Janata Dal-United legislature Mewalal Choudhary as Education Minister in his government. The Opposition has targeted the chief minister as Choudhary faces serious corruption charges and was suspended from the party in 2017 over the issue.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said that Choudhary, a first-time minister and former vice-chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University, should be sacked as he faces serious corruption charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “Has Choudhary been awarded for corruption by chief minister Nitish Kumar and given a free hand to loot?” the RJD leader wrote on the microblogging site Twitter.

RJD spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha told The Indian Express that the decision to appoint Mewalal Choudhary as a minister gives a clear message that the people of Bihar should not expect anything positive from this government. “The choice of Nitish Kumar makes a loud statement about his weakened position in the new scenario after the poll verdict,” he said.

Jha said that Nitish Kumar had walked out of the Grand Alliance in 2017 over a ‘non-case’ of corruption.

67-year-old Choudhary was suspended from JD(U) in 2017 after he was booked under several IPC sections including 420 (cheating and dishonestly) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). The case pertained to alleged irregularities in the appointment of 167 assistant-cum-junior scientists during his tenure as vice-chancellor of the newly-opened university in Bhagalpur district.

Choudhary was vice-chancellor of the university between 2010 and 2015. He had left the job to contest state elections from the Tarapur Assembly seat in 2015. He retained his seat in the recently concluded elections and has been appointed the education minister.

Meanwhile, Bhagalpur DIG Sujit Kumar told The Indian Express that the case has been under investigation and a chargesheet has been filed.

“The chargsheet does not include the name of the newly-appointed education minister and supplementary chargesheets could be filed.” He is on bail.

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