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4th leader of Bihar NDA in grip of sex scandal

CBI team questions former JD-U minister for social welfare Damodar Raut at Jamui

Statesman News Service | Patna |

The heat of shelter home sex scandal has now reached the fourth leader from the ruling NDA in Bihar. Of them, three are from JD-U which is headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

According to media reports, a CBI team visited Jamui a couple of days back and quizzed former JD-U minister for social welfare Damodar Raut for about five hours. Raut served as the social welfare minister in the Nitish Kumar government from April 2008 to 2010 during which huge amount of funds was allotted to the NGO headed by Brajesh Thakur who is the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal, reports said.

Informed sources said the CBI team reached near the former JD-U minister and party vice-president on the basis of key documents procured from the social welfare department. During the extensive grilling, the CBI team was learnt to have showed some important official files which bore Raut’s signatures.

He is the third JD-U leader to face the heat of the CBI probe into the sex scandal earning a bad name for the government. The ruling JDU leadership has already expelled Raut’s son Rajiv Raut from the party in view of his alleged proximity with the main accused Thakur now languishing in jail. Raut was the general secretary of JD-U’s youth wing.

The JD-U acted against Raut’s son after it was revealed he had been constantly in touch with Thakur and also stayed at his hotel in Muzaffarpur town.

Likewise, JD-U leader Manju Verma too has resigned as social welfare minister after the name of her husband surfaced in the sex scandal. Minister’s husband was alleged to have talked at least 17th times with the main accused Thakur in between January and May this year. This came to light after the CBI got the call details records of Thakur.

Yet another minister in the NDA government, Suresh Sharma is in the eye of storms over the sex scandal currently being probed by the CBI. Sharma who holds the Urban development and hosing portfolio hails from the BJP.

In a further embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar government, former JD-U minister Mrs Verma has sought his resignation on similar grounds. “If she had to resign on moral grounds, the same yardstick should apply for the BJP minister too,” former minister said, addressing a function in Begusarai recently and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi to ensure resignation of his cabinet colleague.

The incident has come as an another opportunity for the Opposition RJD to step up attacks on the ruling regime and seek resignation of BJP minister Sharma. “Nitishji, when you are expelling your cabinet colleague and vice-president of JD-U in connection with Brajesh Thakur? If his son has been suspended then why he is spared? What relation your party JD-U shares with the main culprit of Muzaffarpur care home sex scandal?” asked Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, questioning morality the Bihar chief minister.

Meanwhile, another former social welfare minister Parvin Amanullah, who had quit the JD(U) in 2014, told a news channel that it was the bureaucracy that is responsible for the rot in the department and he had taken note of this during his tenure and had also drawn the CM’s attention.