Minister resigns in graft case probe

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  • Published 17.05.08

Patna, May 17: Bihar transport minister and JD(U) Parbatta MLA Ramanand Prasad Singh today resigned from Nitish Kumar cabinet following revelation of him having been chargesheeted in a 1990 corruption case.

The minister was accused of buying low-quality fuel pipes when he was as a fuel technologist at Kanti Thermal Power Project and, thus, pocketing lakhs of rupees.

Singh, who was sworn as a minister in a big cabinet reshuffle last April, confirmed his resignation.

“I have resigned as a matter of propriety. The charges against me are baseless as I was never a member of the purchase committee at the power project,” he said.

The MLA accused the then RJD government of framing him in the case, which “cost” him his ministerial berth today.

Earlier in the day, he had gone to chief minister’s residence at 1, Anne Marg to tender his resignation.

The chief minister forwarded the resignation to Governor R.S. Gavai. Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that Singh’s resignation was accepted.

Singh’s resignation is similar to that of Jitan Ram Manjhi’s.

Now a cabinet minister in Nitish Kumar cabinet, Manjhi had to resign as minister within 24 hours of his swearing in following a pending corruption case against him.

After Manjhi was absolved of charges in the BEd scam, he was re-inducted in the recent expansion.

Singh was chargesheeted by the state vigilance bureau on May 24, 1990. Vigilance officials had raided Singh’s then official quarters at Kanti Thermal Power Station and seized jewellery worth thousands of rupees.

The vigilance had filed a chargesheet against him in a special court here on December 11, 1991.

On April 24, 2008, a special vigilance court summoned Singh to appear before it. But the case had to be adjourned because the minister was unable to attend the court following his busy schedule. The trial is still on.

In a separate case, state prohibition minister Jamshed Ashraf surrendered before a Begusarai court yesterday and was granted bail.

Ashraf was charged with violating the model code of conduct in the 2005 Assembly elections.