Patna: Bihar education minister Mewa Lal Chaudhary, whose appointment to the post had triggered a controversy on account of a corruption taint, on Thursday tendered his resignation, barely three days after being sworn in as a member of the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
Chaudhary, who was allocated the portfolio on Tuesday, a day after taking oath, sent his resignation immediately after assuming charge at 1 p.m., informed sources said.
Chaudhary, who belongs to the Janata Dal (United) headed by the chief minister, had been named an accused in a five-year-old case relating to alleged irregularities in appointment of teachers and technicians at Bihar Agricultural University, Bhagalpur, where he was the Vice Chancellor.
He tendered his resignation after a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
A Raj Bhavan communique later said Chaudhary's resignation has been accepted on the recommendation of the chief minister.
Building construction minister Ashok Chaudhary, also of the JD(U), has been given additional charge of the education ministry, it said.
Shortly after Chaudhary resigned, Raashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav attacked the chief minister for inducting into his cabinet a "corrupt" person.
"You deliberately made a corrupt person a minister and, in spite of criticism, got him to assume charge, before enacting this resignation drama. You are the one who is guilty," he said in a series of tweets.
On Wednesday, RJD and its allies has attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for appointing Choudhary as Education Minister even though he faces corruption charges and was suspended from the party over the issue, and demanded he be sacked.
"Has Chief Minister Nitish Kumar awarded Mewalal Choudhary for corruption and given him the freedom to loot?" he has asked in a tweet.
Choudhary, 67, was suspended from the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) in 2017 after an FIR was registered against him over alleged irregularities in appointments during his tenure as the Vice Chancellor of the Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour in Bhagalpur district.
The FIR was registered against him in February that year on the basis of a report by the then VC over some anomalies in the appointment of Assistant Professors and junior scientists.
BJP, which was in the opposition during the Grand Alliance ministry then, had strongly raised the issue against Choudhary.
Chaudhary had left the job to contest the 2015 Bihar
polls on a JD(U) ticket and was elected from Tarapur Assembly seat in Munger district. He retained his seat in the just-concluded state polls and had been made the Education Minister.
The probe has brought to light alleged irregularities in the appointment of 161 Assistant Professors and Junior Scientists in 2012.
Tejashwi also took a swipe at the new NDA government for not appointing any Muslim in the cabinet.
They have made an accused, absconding in several cases of corruption, the Education Minister. But there is no minister from the minority community, Tejashwi said.
CPI-ML state secretary Kunal had said his party, which has 12 MLAs, would protest against Choudhary from the day one of the new Assembly’s first session, which is on November 23.
"We want Nitish Kumar to sack him (Choudhary)," he had said.
Taking a dig at the Chief Minister over his oft-repeated assertions that he will not tolerate three Cs crime, communalism and corruption -- Kunal said, "You keep talking about the three Cs, then what is this? You yourself had suspended him. The case against him is still going on. And you have made a corrupt man the education minister.