Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today spoke for the first time on the allegations of "shady" land deals on Lalu Prasad and his family saying if the BJP has documents to back the charges it should move the court.
Kumar broke his silence on a series of "expose" by senior BJP leader Sushil Modi and a private news channel wherein it was alleged that RJD supremo and his family members amassed benami properties through shell companies.
He said the power to order a probe into the allegations falls under the jurisdiction of the BJP-ruled Centre and there is no need for "a third party to make a comment" on the issue.
Asked if the state government would look into the matter, he said, "This is not an issue that falls in the domain of the state government nor in the company law of Bihar."
"If the BJP has documents, then it should take legal recourse to prove their accusations," he asserted.
Speaking on the sidelines of 'Lok Samvad' programme here, he also accused "some people" of trying to create an environment where "good works" done by the state government take a back seat.
On a question suggesting that information on property details have been concealed in election affidavits filed by Prasad's family members, Kumar said, "If anyone has not declared any information, then he/she needs to explain it. After all we are leading a public life where moral and ethical values do matter a lot."
Sushil Modi criticised Kumar for his stand and said the CM was "afraid" any action against the RJD chief and his family members would lead to fall of the state government.
"Nitish Kumar has broken his silence after 40 days since the first expose of benami properties amassed by the RJD supremo and his family, but did not promised any action against them fearing fall of the grand alliance government," Modi said in a statement.
He said, the CM seems to be "standing firmly" by the Prasad family.
The state government has jurisdiction to order a probe into the "scam" related to soil purchase by Patna zoo also, Modi, a former deputy chief minister, said.
On Kumar's stand that the Centre should take action on charges of amassing benami properties, Modi said the central government will do its job.
"But the state government cannot escape responsibility ...Of pursuing matters related to violation of state laws by the RJD supremo's family members, including two minister sons," he said.
Prasad and his family members have been embroiled in a controversy for more than a month now over the alleged shady and corrupt land deals.
A private news channel, and later on Modi too, had claimed Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti laundered money through sale and purchase of shares of her shell company-- Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd-- to buy a farmhouse at Bijwasan area in Delhi at Rs 1.41 crore whose current estimated value is around Rs 50 crore.
The BJP leader had also alleged that Prasad's two minister-sons - deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav- amassed benami properties worth over Rs 1,000 crore through various shell companies like Delight Marketing Pvt Ltd, A K Infosystems Pvt Ltd and A B Exports Pvt Ltd.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)