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‘ED, CBI Should be Forbidden in Bihar': Chorus for Withdrawing Consent Gets Louder

Demand by Mahagathbandhan for state permission gets wider support, with many saying CM should follow other states.
mahagathbandhan bihar

Patna: Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Tariq Anwar on Monday came out in support of the demand for withdrawal of general consent to CBI, which is being raised by leaders of the ruling Mahagathbandhan in Bihar.

The AICC general secretary said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was hamstrung earlier because he was a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally, should now take the step in view of mounting allegations of "misuse" of central agencies.

"Nitish Kumar should take a leaf out of the book of many other states and go for such a step. Misuse of investigating agencies is a reality. He may not have been able to take such a decision earlier because he was with the BJP. But now he must act," Anwar told PTI-Bhasha over phone.

He was reacting to demands having been made in this regard by many leaders of the seven-party ruling alliance of which the Congress is a part.

The RJD, the largest constituent, has been most vocal. Its top leaders like Lalu Prasad, Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and many close members of their family and key aides have been named in cases lodged by the CBI.

The agency also raided many premises owned by RJD leaders last week on a day the new government in the state was seeking trust vote.

"ED and CBI sleuths should be forbidden in Bihar without obtaining due permission from the state government. These agencies have lost their credibility," fumed Uday Narayan Chaudhary, a senior RJD leader and two-time speaker of the state assembly.

The clamour has been criticised, predictably, by the BJP, which alleged that attempts were being made to protect a "corrupt" RJD.

In a statement, BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand has alleged that withdrawal of general consent to CBI would also be against "principles of federalism".

However, CPI national secretary Atul Anjan scoffed at the contention and asserted that it was the BJP which stood guilty of "infringing upon cooperative federalism".

"All states, including Bihar, should withdraw such general consent as the BJP has been using agencies for the purpose of political vendetta and thrown the concept of cooperative federalism to the winds. These agencies must, therefore, be allowed only to investigate matters wherein the respective state governments have given consent," said Anjan.

"Many states have withdrawn such consent and there is no reason why Nitish Kumar should follow suit," said the CPI leader whose party supports the government from outside.

Another ally, the CPI(ML), the Left party with the largest presence in the state, concurred with the sentiment.

"Agencies like CBI and NIA have, indeed become tools of persecution. These are being used arbitrarily which is unacceptable. The Mahagathbandhan should build a consensus so that government could take suitable action," said CPI(ML) national secretary general Dipankar Bhattacharya.

Chirag Paswan, former LJP president who seems ambivalent both towards the NDA and the 'Mahagathbandhan', but is stoutly opposed to the Bihar CM and his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras who is a Union minister, was non-committal.

"It is for the state government to take a call. If it feels that central agencies are not being fair, the state government enjoys power, under the federal structure, to take such pre-emptive action," he said

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