Bihar’s embattled cooperative minister Ramadhar Singh of the BJP, who faces charges of being a proclaimed absconder for 16 years in a chargesheeted case, was out of the state Cabinet on Thursday after governor Devanand Konwar accepted his resignation that came recommended by chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Mr Singh, an influential BJP leader from the upper castes and MLA from Daudnagar in Aurangabad district, submitted his resignation to Mr Kumar’s private secretary in Patna on Wednesday night hours after a delegation of senior leaders of the Opposition RJD met the governor to demand his sacking. Mr Kumar, who was away in Delhi, received Mr Singh’s resignation by fax and forwarded it to the governor.
The ruling BJP came out strongly in support of Mr Singh, who was declared an absconder from law by a lower court in Aurangabad in 1995 in a case of delivering a patently anti-Muslim speech on December 17, 1992, in the communally sensitive days after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He was sent to jail on December 23, 1992 and came out on bail on January 5, 1993, never to present himself at trial proceedings again. A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against him in May 1994 and the court declared him an absconder in December 1995. Of the total 14 cases lodged against Mr Singh, he has been acquitted in 10 so far and is currently on bail in the rest four.
BJP leaders tried to deflate the RJD’s triumphalism by attacking Bihar’s previous RJD-led government for not executing the arrest warrant against Singh for a decade. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, who was given additional charge of the cooperatives department after Singh’s resignation, described the charges against his troubled party and cabinet colleague as of “non-serious matter”.
“He (Singh) did not try to know the status of this old case and his lawyers apparently kept misleading him’ Mr Modi said. Asian Age