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Hooch tragedy accused JD(U) leader posts selfie with Nitish on social media, shown the door

An embarrassed JD (U) removed Rakesh Singh, party’s block president and an accused hooch tragedy that klled 29 people at Ara in 2012, soon after he posted a selfie with chief minister Nitish Kumar on social media.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2017 18:47 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
selfie,selfie with Nitish,hooch tragedy
Hooch tragedy accused Rakesh Singh takes a selfie with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna. (Santosh Kumar/HT photo)

A photo of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in company of a hooch tragedy accused has spelt trouble for him with the opposition targeting him over his “dual stand” on total prohibition.

Rakesh Singh, who posted his selfie with Kumar on social media after his meeting with the chief minister on Sunday, is a named accused in the hooch tragedy which killed 29 people in Nawada police station area of Ara in Bihar’s Bhojpur district on December 30, 2012 and also a block president of the Kumar-led Janata Dal (United).

In a knee jerk reaction, an embarrassed JD (U) removed Rakesh Singh from the party.

“He (Rakesh Singh) is an elected president of the party’s Udwantnagar block unit in Bhojpur district. But we were not aware about the case against him. We have removed him from the party and will be alert in future that such elements do not join the party,” said JD (U) state president Bashistha Narain Singh.

Kumar also said that the party had no inkling of Rakesh Singh’s involvement in the hooch tragedy.“The JD (U) is committed to prohibition and we are not going to compromise on the issue,” the chief minister (CM) added.

The RJD was quick to react on the issue. Former deputy chief minister and Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said the selfie showed “double standards” of Kumar on liquor ban.

The state government is already under attack following the death of four persons on October 27 after consuming spurious liquor in Rohtas district of west Bihar. Twelve police personnel and two excise officials have been suspended after the hooch deaths.

A complete ban on sale and consumption of alcohol was imposed in the state in April last year.

The CM’s meeting with Rakesh Singh took place when he accompanied former school principal Harindra Kumar Singh, whom Kumar felicitated for returning Rs 4 lakh he had received as dowry for his son’s marriage from the prospective bride’s family. Kumar welcomed the retired principal at his official residence with a warm hug for promoting the state’s anti-dowry campaign.

Harindra Kumar Singh, a native of Bhojpur, shot into prominence after HT carried an account of how he made up his mind to return the money received from the bride’s family to make arrangements for his younger son Prem Ranjan Singh’s wedding, slated for December 3.

Harindra Kumar Singh and his family members were inspired by the CM’s call on October 4 at Ara to shun the practice of dowry and decided to take the ‘bold step’ of returning the cash on October 10.

The JD (U) block president was known to the school principal’s family and accompanied him to the CM’s house.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 18:23 IST