Rabri, Other Ex-CMs to Lose their Government-provided Bungalow

The inside of the Rabri Devi bungalow (file photo).

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Patna: In a major setback to the Lalu family along with other past Chief Ministers of Bihar, the Patna High Court on Tuesday declared Bihar government’s cabinet previous decision to occupy government-provided bungalow with all expenses paid for the rest of their lives illegal stating the state government had no authority to pass such law.

A dual bench of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Shahi and Justice Anjana Mishra on Tuesday, slammed the state government for allowing illegal takeover of the ownership of tax-payers’ funded bungalow by former Chief Ministers calling the practice highly unethical and a gross abuse of the government revenue. It also added the practice was against a previous ruling by the Supreme Court.

The court ordered the Chief Secretary to take immediate steps to get all government bungalows currently occupied by former Chief Ministers vacated.

The move will force former Chief Minister Rabri Devi to vacate her luxurious bungalow on 10 Circular Road that she, her husband and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, and other members of the family had been calling home since RJD was ousted by the NDA in 2005.

Besides Rabri Devi and Lalu Prasad Yadav who live in the sprawling 10 Circular Road with massive renovations, others who will be affected by the new court ruling are Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who currently occupies two bungalows, one on 7 Circular Road and 1 Anney Marg; Jitan Ram Manjhi who continues to occupy the bungalow on 12M Strand Road, Jagannath Mishra who lives on 41 Kranti Marg, and Satish Kumar Singh, who was the Chief Minister of Bihar for only three days in 1968, occupying another bungalow on Harding Road.

It was Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government that had passed the law in 2016 that allowed former Chief Minister’s to virtually become owners of the building for the rest of their lives with all maintenance works done from the taxpayers’ money.

Interestingly, it was RJD leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejaswi Yadav’s insistence on keeping his palatial bungalow on 7 Circular Road that led to the High Court to look into the ridiculous rule passed by the Nitish government. Yadav, after being snubbed by the Patna High Court, had moved Supreme Court that also turned down his plea forcing him to vacate his bungalow last week making room for his successor Sushil Kumar Modi to move into it on Tuesday.

Building Construction Minister Maheshwar Hazari said that the department will follow the High Court diktat to the letter and begin issuing notice to the occupiers immediately.

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