PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's photograph and selfies with 2012 Bihar hooch tragedy accused Rakesh Singh has left the Janata Dal (United) red-faced. Acting swiftly, the party terminated the membership of Singh on Tuesday.
The move comes two days after the JD(U) supremo was photographed with Singh at the former's official residence in Patna on Sunday.
The party stated that Singh has been expelled post allegations of his involvement with liquor mafia in the state.
Earlier, the Bihar CM clarified that Singh had accompanied a teacher, who had refused to accept dowry for his son's marriage.
"Neither I nor our state president had an idea about this man. But once questions were raised we took no time in dissociating ourselves with him," Kumar said.
In 2012, nearly 29 people were killed after consuming liquor supplied from a shop owned by Singh, a block president of the ruling JD(U) in Bhojpur district. He spent two years in jail and is currently out on bail facing trial, said sources.
In the recent photograph, Singh is seen sitting beside the Bihar CM during. He reportedly took a few selfies with Kumar.
Soon after the photo went viral on social media, opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD attacked the government, linking the incident with the latest hooch tragedy in Rohtas, which claimed four lives on Friday.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav alleged that the prohibition imposed by the Nitish-led Bihar government is a "farce" and that the JD(U) depends on earnings through illicit liquor for its finances, inviting a sharp reaction from the ruling party.
"The prohibition is a farce," he said. "The JD(U) is heavily dependent for its finances on earnings through illicit liquor."
"But in the photographs we see a JD(U) leader sharing space who happens to be the main accused in a 2012 hooch case ...The way he got an entry into the high-security official residence of the CM raises many questions about the chief minister's sense of judgement with regard to the people he chooses to interact with," Yadav said on Tuesday.
With agency inputs