Patna: A local court in Bihar on Tuesday issued notices to chief minister Nitish Kumar and five former chief ministers for availing palatial government bungalows and other privileges for a lifetime without any financial limits.
The Patna High Court taking a suo Motu cognisance of the case raised objections over the allotment of bungalows to former chief ministers for lifetime and questioned on what basis the privileges were provided to them. The next hearing in the case will take place on February 11.
The court asked the parties to reply as to why can’t they stay at their private accommodations under the security cover if availing government bungalows is all about security. The court also asked the state government to file counter affidavits as to why the Bihar Special Security Group (Amendment) Act, 2010 providing for lifetime bungalows to former chief minister shouldn’t be struck down.
What’s strange although the facility for lifetime government bungalows was meant for former chief ministers, the present chief minister Nitish Kumar too was availing this facility which irked the court. Under the law passed in 2010, government bungalows were allotted to six politicians for being former chief ministers. They included Nitish Kumar who was allotted 7, Circular Road bungalow, Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi were allotted one bungalow at 10, Circular Road, Jagannath Mishra at 41, Kranti Marg, Jitan Ram Manjhi at 12, M Stand Road and Satish Prasad Singh at 33/A Hardinge Road.
The court came to know about the entire story of the former chief ministers availing lifetime bungalows while it was hearing a case involving allotment of a bungalow to former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav after he refused to vacate it despite repeated orders by the state government. It was during hearing of this case that Tejashwi’s lawyer told the court how the current chief minister and his men have been in illegal possessions of many government bungalows while he was being told to vacate it. The court though ordered Tejashwi to vacate his bungalow, but it took suo Motu cognisance of the case relating to lifetime allotment of government accommodations to former chief ministers.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushil Kumar Modi too had earlier questioned chief minister over the bungalow issue, while his party was in the opposition.
“Despite pursuing dynastic politics, Lalu Prasad has been staying in a bungalow with his wife (former chief minister) and two minister-sons but why do you need two bungalows although you have been against dynastic politics and stay with your lone son only,” was how Modi wrote in his letter to the chief minister in June 2016 while Kumar was heading the Grand Alliance government in Bihar and the BJP was in the opposition. RJD chief Prasad’s both sons were ministers in the Grand Alliance government then.