Opposition NDA in both Houses of Bihar Legislature today demanded resignation of two state ministers in the wake of their names appearing in the police probe into the Bihar State Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) paper leak incident.
According to media reports, the Special Investigation Team has submitted a report to the Special Vigilance court in which names of two ministers -- Krishnandan Prasad Varma and Alok Mehta -- have appeared among others on the basis of call details of arrested Secretary of Bihar State Staff Selection Commission (BSSC), Parmeshwar Ram.
While Varma is from JD(U) and is the Law and Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, Alok Mehta of RJD is the Cooperative Minister.
Besides them, names of former MP and RJD leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh, JD(U) MLA Ram Balak Singh and BJP MLA Suresh Kumar Sharma have appeared in the scam, the reports said.
Legislators of BJP and its NDA partners trooped into the well in the state Assembly as well the Legislative Council demanding resignation of the two ministers.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters that the ministers concerned should be removed immediately.
He further alleged that OSD of Health minister Tej Pratap Yadav had given three to four instructions over the phone to the Commission officials in the recruitment of ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) conducted by BSSC earlier.
"If a minister telephones any official or sends recommendation it is taken as order of the government," he charged.
His party colleague and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Prem Kumar said, "The Chief Minister had ignored the opposition protest in the BSSC paper leak matter earlier, asking them to reveal names of ministers in the scam ... Now the names are out. Why is he not sacking the two ministers?"
In the eye of storm, the state Law minister told reporters, "It is the routine work for MLAs or MPs to fulfill expectations of voters of their constituency. There is no evidence of exchange of money in 2-3 recommendations sent by my staff to BSSC Secretary...I did not ask him to leak the question paper or get a non-meritorious candidate clear the exam.
"If you examine closely, all MLAs or MPs of a party send words to officials in favour of some needy people of their constituency," Varma said in his defence.
On the NDA's demand for a CBI probe into the matter, the Bihar minister said the opposition was doing it for political gains.
Mehta also made similar pleas, saying it was normal for a public representative to help few needy people of their constituency.
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Both the ministers got backing from others in the Grand Alliance.
Congress state president and minister Ashok Choudhary while talking to reporters termed the NDA demand as "baseless."
"As a public representative our duty is to put forward plea of some needy to concerned persons to help but it does not mean to help by bending rules," Choudhary said.
His party colleague and Animal Husbandry minister Awdesh Kumar Singh echoed similar views and said "even Sushil Kumar Modi do the same."
Urban Development minister and JD(U) leader Maheshwar Hazari said public representatives help needy people of constituency.
Paper leak scam has provided an issue to opposition to attack Nitish Kumar government.
The question paper and answer of clerical grade exam conducted on February 5 last was circulated on social media following which based on probe by state police chief and recommendation of Chief Secretary, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered cancellation of the exam.
Chairman of BSSC Sudhir Kumar, who is a senior IAS officer, and Secretary of the Commission Parmeshwar Ram were arrested and are now lodged in jail with others in the paper leak case.
Results of recruitment of about 3000 ANM, in which similar corruption has been alleged is yet to be declared by BSSC.
Sushil Modi, Leader of opposition in state Legislative Council, demanded resignation of Health minister Tej Pratap Yadav.
"The OSD of the Health minister send names of three candidates for recruitment as ANM which highlights involvement of the minister in recruitment of ANM," he Modi told reporters in support of demand for sacking of the Health minister.
Tej Pratap Yadav is son of RJD President Lalu Prasad.
Asked about name of a BJP MLA Suresh Kumar Sharma also coming in SIT report, Sushil Modi said when the party asked him he denied making any telephone call and was ready to undergo any probe by the state government.
He demanded that the entire call details of arrested BSSC Secretary Parmeshwar Ram be made public.