By DK Sinha
Patna: A day after he attacked Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for permission to a BJP MLA to bring back the latter’s stranded daughter from Kota, Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav on Monday upped his ante against Nitish, asking him to share details of about 700 passes issued to VIPs for movement across the country in their own interests during lockdown.
Yadav said that Nitish had been opposing the move of Uttar Pradesh government to bring back students stuck in Kota during the lockdown and even went to the extent of complaining with Union Home Ministry against District Magistrate of Kota for issuance of passes to students willing to return to their homes.
“Acting on the direction of Chief Minister, Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar had written a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on April 13, protesting against the issuance of passes by District Magistrate of Kota but officials of Bihar government had issued more than 700 passes to VIPs for movement across the country in their own interests”, Tejashwi contended.
“Why Mr Kumar is making a difference between common man and VIP in this difficult time of Corona pandemic. People would not tolerate such a discrimination”, he added.
Yadav asked how BJP MLA Anil Singh was issued pass by the authorities to enable him to bring back his daughter from Kota while others were denied same facilities. Had Singh been tested to ascertain whether he was Corona positive after his return from Kota?”, he asked. He added: “Whether BJP MLA Mr Singh had been directed to remain in quarantine?”
Meanwhile, Bihar government has ordered an inquiry into the issuing of a travel pass to the BJP MLA. Additional Chief Secretary Amir Subhani said the inquiry has been ordered by the general administration to look into aspects like whether the pass was issued by a competent authority and in accordance with norms laid down for the purpose.
He also said action may be taken against officials concerned, if any anomaly was detected in issuing of the pass.
Anil Singh, who represents Hisua assembly segment in Nawada district, had travelled to the Rajasthan town on April 16, and returned with his 17-year-old daughter, who had enrolled there in coaching classes for medical, two days later.
The MLA has claimed that he was left with no option other than rushing to Kota since his daughter had started suffering from “depression” after her classes were suspended, following the lockdown and most of her inmates at her hostel had left for their homes. He said he is not only a public representative but also a father.
On the other hand, All India Congress Ccommittee’s in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Ghoul alleged, in a video message, that the MLA had travelled in a government vehicle of which the insurance had lapsed.
Showing copies of the registration certificate of a Scorpio car, Gohil pointed out that the vehicle was registered in the name “Under Secretary”, implying that it was meant for government use.
Defending himself, BJP MLA stated, “I do not understand which Scorpio car is being talked about. I travelled in my own Fortuner car and all its papers are in order. Anybody can tally the number printed on the pass issued in my favour with the records in the transport department.”
Unconvinced by BJP MLA’s contention, Gohil continued to assert that “the number printed originally on the pass was the same as that of the Scorpio car”.
“We have a copy of the original pass. The MLA is displaying to the media a doctored copy of the pass wherein the number has changed after applying whitener,” he alleged.
As per official records, the Nawada SDO issued a vehicle pass (256) for BR-01PJ-0484 to Hisua MLA Anil Kumar to bring back his ward from Kota. The pass was issued on April 15 with validity till April 25.
A senior government officer on the condition of anonymity said, “SDO can’t issue pass for inter state movement…. He has gone beyond his limit… Only appropriate authority is DM that too online if applied online only.”