Under attack, Nitish to probe Bihar land bonanza (Second Lead)

July 19th, 2011 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Patna, July 19 (IANS) Under attack, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Tuesday ordered a probe into the allotment of land to family members of the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

After the opposition raised the issue in the assembly, Nitish Kumar said that an investigation had been ordered and the guilty, if any, would be punished.

“I have ordered a probe by the chief secretary and action will be taken against guilty if the allegations are found true,” said Nitish Kumar, who has zealously guarded his reputation as a clean politician.

But the chief minister, who was re-elected for another five years in November 2010, insisted that he would comment further only after the probe report was available.

But opposition leaders tore into him.

The opposition leader in the assembly, Abdul Bari Siddiqui of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), said that the government allotted factory plots of the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) to sons and daughters of the JD-U and BJP leaders.

The beneficiaries included ministers and legislators, and they all got the plots in violation of known rules, he said.

“The government land was virtually gifted to them at throwaway prices. It was an illegal act,” Siddiqui said.

State Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Pashupati Kumar Paras said: “Why is Nitish Kumar silent, why is he reluctant to say anything… He is himself involved in the scam.”

In New Delhi, LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan demanded Nitish Kumar’s resignation and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allotments.

Congress leader Premchand Mishra said: “Nitish Kumar is known for talking about morals in politics… he should resign.”

According to the website of BIADA, a Bihar government agency that allots land for industrial units, it has given 87,120 sq ft of land to the daughter of Human Resource Development Minister P.K. Shahi.

It also gave 15,500 sq ft land to JD-U MP Jagdish Sharma’s son and 87,120 sq ft land to the daughter of Social Welfare Minister Perveen Amanullah as well as senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Afzal Amanullah.

The son of former BJP legislator Awdhesh Narayan Singh got 21,7800 sq ft while BJP legislator Ashok Agarwal’s son Saurabh Agarwal was given two huge plots.

Upendra Kushwaha, convenor of the Bihar Nav Nirman Manch, a new political outfit floated by JD-U rebels, said the scam exposed Nitish Kumar’s claims of providing good governance and corruption-free government.

“The BIADA has allotted government land to sons and daughters of all those leaders who are close to Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi (of BJP),” Kushwaha said.

Kushwaha demanded a probe by an independent agency into the allotment — over the last five and a half years.

“People have a right to know how government land was allotted to powerful people in violation of rule of law,” he said.

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