The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VIP frees brother in poll dock

Oct. 19: A Union minister has been sucked into a controversy with police saying he got his brother, a candidate in the Bihar elections, freed after he was arrested yesterday for breaking an electronic voting machine and moving around with weapons, cash and liquor.

Jamui superintendent of police Arvind Kumar said: “Union minister Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav went to the police station and got his brother released.”

The Election Commission today ordered the removal of Bhagalpur range inspector-general of police N.C. Dhondiyal on the ground that his work is not “satisfactory”. The transfer is possibly linked to the release of Vijay Prakash Yadav, the RJD candidate from Jamui which falls in his jurisdiction.

Vijay Prakash, younger brother of the junior water resources minister who is a confidant of RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, was arrested after he broke a voting machine, and a rifle, 60 live cartridges, an improvised explosive device, Rs 6.6 lakh in cash and liquor bottles were found in his vehicle.

Two other persons, including “dummy” Independent candidate Ashok Ram, were also arrested and later freed allegedly under pressure from the minister.

All three are absconding.

Arvind Kumar said: “Their release was in total violation of the law. Someone may have high connections but the law is higher than all.”

The officer in charge of Khaira police station, Mukeshwar Prasad, who released Vijay Prakash on bail, has been suspended.

Election Commission adviser K.J. Rao rushed to Jamui, 200 km from Patna, to probe the incident and found himself holding a “jan adalat” (public court) on the request of villagers. Several eyewitnesses came forward to tell Rao the minister had arrived at the police station last night and forced his brother’s release.

Additional director-general of police Manoj Nath has been asked to conduct an inquiry and submit a report by tomorrow evening.

BJP state president Sushil Kumar Modi demanded the immediate arrest of the absconders and the removal of Jai Prakash and Laloo Prasad from the Manmohan Singh ministry.

The Congress, an ally of the RJD, said action should be taken if the minister was found guilty.

“The matter needs to be looked into. All are equal before the law. If he is found guilty, certainly action will be taken against him”, spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, when asked if Jai Prakash would be sacked.

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