Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar Tuesday ordered a probe into an alleged land scam, filled with nepotism claims, in which children of leaders of the ruling Janata Dal-United-Bharatiya Janata Party (JD-U-BJP) alliance were favoured in allotment of industrial plots.
After the opposition parties raised the issue in the state assembly Tuesday morning, Nitish Kumar said that a probe has been ordered and the guilty would be punished. "I have ordered a probe by the chief secretary and action will be taken against the guilty if allegations are found true," he said.
Sensing damage to his government's clean image, the chief minister said that he would say anything on the issue only after the probe report was available. "I will react after the probe is conducted," he said.
Leader of opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui of the Rashtriya Janata Dal said that the state government allotted many factory plots of the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) to sons and daughters of ruling alliance leaders, including ministers and legislators, without inviting proper applications.
"The government land was virtually gifted to them at throwaway prices. It was an illegal act," Siddiqui said.
According to the official website of the BIADA, a Bihar government agency that allots land for industrial units, it has given 87,120 Sqft land to the daughter of Human Resource Development minister PK Shahi.
It also gave 15,500 sqft land to JD-U MP Jagdish Sharma's son and 87,120 sqft land to the daughter of Social Welfare minister Perveen Amanullah and senior Indian Administrative Service officer Afzal Amanullah.
A former BJP legislator, Awdhesh Narayan Singh's son has got 21,7800 sqft plot, and another BJP legislator Ashok Agarwal's son Saurabh Agarwal was given two huge plots by the BIADA.
Upendra Kushwaha, convenor of the Bihar Nav Nirman Manch, a new political outfit floated by JD-U rebels, said that the scam exposed Nitish Kumar's claims of good governance and corruption-free government.
"The BIADA has allotted government land to sons and daughters of all those leaders who are close to Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi," Kushwaha said.
Kushwaha demanded a probe by an independent agency into the allotment of government land during the last five and a half years. "People have a right to know how government land was allotted to powerful people in violation of rule of law," he said.