Image above: Kartikeya Singh with his mentor Anant Kumar Singh
Patna: A day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expanded his new cabinet by inducting 31 new ministers, including a huge contingent of 16 from key ally RJD, which had had a dubious record of officiating over a regime of kidnappings and extortions under the rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi, the dark age seems to have returned to Bihar. RJD MLC Kartikeya Singh, who was to surrender at the Danapur court on 16 August in connection with a case of kidnapping, reached Raj Bhavan in Patna instead to take oath as the new law minister in the Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar.
The Bihar chief minister replied to related queries of reporters, saying, "I do not know, I have no information about this."
A case of kidnapping was registered against Karthikeya Singh and 17 others at the Bihta police station in Patna in 2014. He is accused of conspiracy to kidnap a builder with the intent to murder. A charge sheet was filed in this case. Bihar Police issued a warrant against Singh on 14 July. He was to surrender on 16 August, but he was made a cabinet minister instead.
Kartikeya Singh is an MLC of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). He got a place in the Nitish cabinet from the RJD quota. Kartikeya Singh, a resident of Mokama, has also been a teacher by profession. He claims all the cases against him are "wrong".
"There is no warrant against me. I have given all the information in the affidavit," he said. But he has been charged under several sections of IPC — 363 (kidnapping), 364 (kidnapping with intent to murder), 365 (secret, unjustified kidnapping with intent to imprison) and 34 (the incident was committed by more than one person).
Kartikeya Singh took oath as a minister in the Nitish cabinet yesterday, after which Nitish Kumar entrusted him with the task of the state law ministry.
Kartikeya Singh is considered close to former RJD MLA Anant Kumar Singh, who lost his membership of the assembly following his conviction in a criminal case. Anant K Singh was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment in yet another matter relating to the recovery of arms and explosives from his residence.
Special Judge, MP/MLA court, Triloki Nath Dubey had delivered the sentence against Anant K Singh, one of the most dreaded gangsters-turned-politicians spawned by the badlands of Bihar. This was after the police found in his possession a bullet-proof jacket, some hand grenades and ammunition from his government accommodation in 2015.
Earlier, the court had awarded him the same quantum of sentence in June in a case of 2019 related to the recovery of an AK-47 rifle, rocket launchers and hand grenades from his ancestral residence in Mokama. The former MLA has won the Mokama assembly seat five times on the trot as an independent as well as on tickets of RJD and JD(U) of arch-rivals Lalu Prasad and chief minister Nitish Kumar respectively.
BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi said, "If Kartikeya Singh (RJD) had a warrant against him, he should have surrendered. But he has taken oath as law minister."
"I ask Nitish, is he trying to take Bihar back to Lalu's times? Kartikeya Singh should be immediately dismissed," Modi said.