Patna: The Supreme Court has ordered for registering a case against Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav after he was spotted with a murder accused in a photograph, which recently went viral on the social media, according to media reports.
Yadav happens to be the elder son of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad whose party is a coalition partner in the ruling Nitish Kumar government in Bihar.
The court passed this order on Wednesday while hearing a petition filed by Asha Ranjan, wife of a local journalist, Rajdeo Ranjan, who was reportedly shot dead by the motorcycle-borne criminals in May last year. The court will hear the case on April 21.
The widow of the slain journalist had approached the court, requesting that a case be registered against the health minister after he was caught on camera with a youth named Mohammad Kaif who incidentally was a key accused in her husband’s murder case and declared as an “absconder” by the police.
In her petition to the court, the widow had charged the minister with plotting murder conspiracy and giving shelter to the wanted criminal.
The health minister had come under fire after a photograph showing him with the absconding criminal went viral in the social media in September last year. In the old photograph apparently shot during his oath-taking ceremony, the alleged shooter was seen offering a bouquet to the health minister.
The minister later rejected his association with the murder accused after the photograph was widely carried in the local media. “More than a thousand people come to meet me every day. Is it possible to recognise everyone?” was the minister’s response.
Incidentally, Kaif has been declared as a key accused in the sensational murder of Journalist Rajdeo Ranjan currently being probed by the India’s premier investigating agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Kaif later surrendered in the court after the police mounted pressures for his arrest.
Earlier, Kaif was spotted with jailed RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin when he was released from jail in September last after 11 years of incarceration (he was sent back to jail soon after his bail was cancelled by the Supreme Court).
Apparently, the presence of an absconder with Shahabuddin whom Asha Ranjan describes as the “prime conspirator” in murder of her husband forced the widow to move the Supreme Court and she didn’t spare the health minister either.
The development is likely to deal a heavy blow to the promising career of the young minister who holds many important portfolios apart from health and holds number three position in the Nitish Kumar government.
The long career of his father RJD chief Prasad has already come to an abrupt end after he was convicted in the multi-million dollar fodder scam and served five-year jail term in the case. Prasad is currently out on bail.