Jharkhand minister agrees for DNA test

Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Satyanand Jha `Batul` has refuted that he married a teacher and fathered her son.

Ranchi: Refuting that he married a teacher and fathered her son, Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Satyanand Jha `Batul` on Saturday agreed for a DNA test to clear his name and described the episode as a "political conspiracy" against him.

A middle-aged woman identifying herself as Soni claimed that Jha was her husband.

"We have relations since 1994. Batul married me in Deoghar temple. Batul is the father of my three-year-old son," said Soni while talking to reporters in Jamtara district, 350 km from here.

"The blood test of the minister and my son should be conducted to ascertain the facts," she demanded.

Refuting the charges, the minister said: "I am ready for DNA test. The DNA test will bring out the truth."

The minister admitted that he knew her and she worked for his Bharatiya Janata Party.

"This is a political conspiracy against me. This is a move to blackmail me. The political opponents are envious of my becoming a minister and are hatching such a conspiracy to defame me," Jha said.

According to Soni, the BJP minister had gone "mad after the death of his first wife".

"He met me when he had lost his wife and I supported him in his bad time. He changed after becoming a legislator... Now he is not ready to recognise me," Soni said.

She appealed to Chief Minister Arjun Munda to ask Jha to accept her.

"We have asked Batul to make his stand clear. I have spoken to Batul and he has denied the allegations. In politics, opponents adopt such measures to defame leaders," said Jharkhand BJP president Dineshanand Goswami.

The opposition Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) have demanded the resignation of the minister.

"Satyanand Jha should resign on moral grounds. The Jharkhand government should order an impartial probe into the entire episode to ascertain the truth," Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Shailesh Singh said.

Pradeep Yadav, leader of the JVM-P legislative party, said: "The woman has levelled serious allegations against the agriculture minister who should resign."