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Controversies surround new Araria MP Sarfaraz Alam

Apart from being charged with extortion, kidnapping, criminal intimidation, theft and preventing government officials from discharging their duties, Sarfaraz Alam is also accused of misbehaving with a couple and molesting a woman in train.

patna Updated: Mar 19, 2018 12:26 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Araria MP,Sarfaraz Alam,byelection
Araria MP Sarfaraz Alam taking oath as Lok Sabha member in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI photo)

Newly elected Lok Sabha member from Araria seat in Bihar, Sarfaraz Alam, has been a controversial figure for his alleged strong-arm tactics and criminal cases being filed against him.

Apart from being charged with extortion, kidnapping, criminal intimidation, theft and preventing government officials from discharging their duties, Alam is also accused of misbehaving with a couple and molesting a woman in Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani Express in January 2016.

Alam, then a JD(U) MLA, was arrested after a case of molestation was lodged with the government railway police (GRP) station in Patna. He was subsequently suspended by the JD(U).

His father, Mohammad Taslimuddin, whose death had necessitated the Araria Lok Sabha byelection, was also accused in many criminal cases, including those pertaining to attempt to murder, extortion, arms Act and explosives substances Act. He was removed as Union minister of state for home affairs in early 1990s from the HD Devegowda-led government owing to his criminal antecedents.

Taslimuddin, popular as Gandhi of Seemanchal region of northeast Bihar, however, never lost touch with the masses and cultivating a Robin Hood aura around him.

Later, many cases, including those of murder, extortion and those related to arms and explosives Act, against Taslimuddin were either dropped or dismissed by courts.

In case of Alam, who joined the RJD a day after the Election Commission of India (ECI) notified the bypoll for Araria seat, the court of railway judicial magistrate, Patna, framed charges against him in the molestation case in November last year.

A court in Purnia district in northeast Bihar has also taken cognizance in two cases lodged with K Hat police station in 1998 and framed charges against him.

An RJD leader, close to Alam, claimed that the molestation case had been resolved after the couple agreed to withdraw the charges. However, the case was still pending in the court of the railway judicial magistrate, he said.

Alam had earlier claimed that he was framed in the case of molestation to tarnish his public image. He also reiterated that all other cases against him were false and politically motivated.

In his affidavit, submitted with his nomination papers for the byelection, Alam had revealed that he had only three cases of serious nature pending against him.

BJP spokesman Rajiv Ranjan said Alam was suspended from the JD(U) because of misconduct with a railway passenger in a drunken state. “He chose to get the RJD’s support to bolster his political career, as he knew it that no other party would back him owing to his criminal antecedents,” he added.

RJD spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav, however, wondered about changing perceptions of the BJP on the credentials of a leader. “Everything with Alam was good when he was with the JD(U). Once he switched side, they began finding faults in him. In democracy, people’s verdict is the utmost. So far as criminal charges are concerned, nothing has been proven against him in the court of law,” added Yadav.

First Published: Mar 19, 2018 12:26 IST