Patna: After years of being targeted by opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for alleged corruption, former union minister and ex-party chief R.C.P. Singh was issued a show cause notice by his own party, Janata Dal (United), Thursday, over the acquisition of 58 plots of land by his family members in the past nine years.
“You are aware of our leader Nitish Kumar’s zero tolerance towards corruption and that despite being in public life for a long period there are no corruption charges against him,” JD(U) state president Umesh Kushwaha, wrote in a letter to R.C.P Singh Thursday.
ThePrint has copies of both the letter and a report made by two JD(U) leaders against the former minister.
The two leaders — Suresh Prasad and Sanjay Kumar Patel from Nalanda, R.C.P’s and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s home district — in a letter written to JD(U) national president Lalan Singh on 27 July, have pointed out that the acquired land has not been mentioned in the former minister’s Rajya Sabha election affidavit, despite Nitish Kumar making it mandatory for all officials, ministers and leaders to declare their assets and income to the public.
ThePrint has a copy of the report.
Answering the allegations, R.C.P. Singh told ThePrint that “the whole transaction of land was in the public domain. The move is aimed at humiliating me.”
He added: “My father had willed all his land to his granddaughters. In villages, acquisition and selling off land keeps happening. All these land transactions are mentioned in my IT returns.”
While there are speculations that the show cause notice against R.C.P. Singh is born out of JD(U)’s perceived threat from the former minister’s growing popularity and a fear that he may have the BJP’s backing, the RJD has claimed it proves its past allegations against the JD(U) leader. The opposition party had coined the term ‘RCP Tax’ to refer to alleged illegal monetary transactions.
Meanwhile, a BJP leader raised the issue of all alleged land acquisitions being made by the former minister during the time when he enjoyed a senior position with the JD(U).
Allegations against R.C.P. Singh
According to the report prepared by Prasad and Patel, 58 plots of land — measuring 40 bighas — were acquired by members of R.C.P Singh’s family in the past nine years (2013 onwards).
This includes land transferred in the name of the JD(U) leader’s wife Girija (or Girja Devi) and daughters Lipi Singh (a Bihar cadre IPS officer) and Lata Singh, in Asthawa and Islampur blocks of Nalanda district.
The report also mentions that in the land deals the property acquired in his wife’s name mentions her as Girija, instead of Girja — as spelt in his election affidavits.
The timing of the report and the show cause notice against the leader coincides with JD(U)’s growing discomfort with his attempts at increasing his support base within Bihar.
R.C.P. Singh resigned from the union ministry earlier this year after JD(U) didn’t re-nominate him to the Rajya Sabha.
Since then, the former party national president has been holding public meetings in Jehanabad, Gaya and Nalanda, where slogans such as “Bihar Ka mukhya mantri kaisa ho, RCP Babu jaisa Ho (what should Bihar’s CM be like, he should be like R.C.P. Singh)” have been raised.
Bihar ministers and JD(U) leaders Ashok Choudhary, Sanjay Jha and Srawan Kumar, have not only reacted to the slogans but mocked the former union minister’s claims that CM Nitish Kumar had promoted him because of his talent and organisation skill (R.C.P. Singh is a former UP cadre IAS officer). The JD(U) leaders have also asserted that R.C.P.’s politics was at the mercy of Nitish Kumar and that there was only one Bihar CM candidate in the JD(U).
The party is also believed to have feared that R.C.P. Singh’s public meetings may have had the support of the BJP.
“It’s just a matter of time before R.C.P. is expelled from the party, the notice is just the beginning,” a JDU leader told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, RJD leaders feel the show cause notice against the former IAS officer is proof of graft allegations previously raised by them.
“The JDU report just verifies our charge that R.C.P. was involved in rampant corruption,” RJD MLA Bhai Virendra told ThePrint.
A BJP leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, however, claimed, “All these land transfers happened during the period R.C.P. was number two in JD(U) and elevated by Nitish as Rajya Sabha MP and national president.”
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)