Bihar Education Min Mewalal Choudhary Quits Days After Taking Oath
JD(U) leader Choudhary’s resignation comes amid corruption allegations against him,.
Bihar Education Minister Mewalal Choudhary, who took oath as a Cabinet minister just days ago in the newly formed Bihar government, has resigned from his post on Thursday, 19 November.
Bihar Minister Ashok Chaudhary has been given the additional charge of the education department, following Choudhary’s resignation, ANI reported.
The JD(U) leader’s resignation comes amid corruption allegations against him. Soon after he was sworn in on Monday, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in an attack on Choudhary, flagged corruption allegations against him dating back to 2017. The party had congratulated the Nitish Kumar-led government for making ‘people like Choudhary’ ministers in the Cabinet.
Choudhary had been suspended from JD(U) in February 2017 over allegations of massive irregularities in the hiring of faculty at the varsity he headed. However, he was re-inducted into the party later.
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT?
Choudhary was the Founder Vice Chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University, an autonomous institution under the Bihar government, between 2010 and 2015.
A year after his appointment, the university published advertisements inviting applications for the posts of 281 Assistant Professors-cum-Junior Scientists.
While only 161 vacancies were filled, the varsity’s Chancellor, the then Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, received complaints that candidates who secured low marks in academics were given higher marks in the interview and presentation process, whereas those with strong academic performance had been given low marks in interviews.
According to the Hindustan Times, some applicants had alleged that PhD degree holders and NET-qualified candidates were sidelined, while high marks were given to a few.
Based on these complaints, the Chancellor formed an inquiry committee under Justice (retd.) Syed Mohammad Mahfooz Alam in 2015, which found the allegations to be true and indicted Choudhary for anomalies in the appointment process.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE MATTER?
In February 2017, an FIR was lodged against Choudhary by BAU’s Registrar, based on the former’s indictment by the inquiry committee. The FIR was lodged after the varsity received a directive from the Chancellor, reported Hindustan Times. In that complaint, sections of the PIC relating to forgery like 466, 468, 471, 309, 420 and 120(D), were slapped against Choudhary.
In March, a Bhagalpur district court issued a non-bailable warrant against Choudhury after he failed to turn up for interrogation, before a STF formed for the purpose.
However, in August 2017, Choudhary moved the Patna High Court, which granted him anticipatory bail as the inquiry report could not find or produce any material that would prove that Choudhary had made favourable appointments.
Choudhary has pointed out that so far no charge sheet has been filed against him and that everything is presently under investigation.
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