Jailed Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was on Thursday shifted from the director’s bungalow of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences to a paying ward, PTI reported, citing an official. The move came two days after Yadav’s alleged phone call to a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, asking him to abstain from voting during the election for the post of the Speaker in the Bihar Assembly.
“Lalu Prasad Yadav was shifted from the bungalow of the director to room number A-11 of the paying ward today,” said Dr Waghmare Krishna Prasad, additional director of the hospital and joint health secretary of Jharkhand. Yadav was admitted to the hospital for treatment of multiple ailments.
Prasad said the hospital’s administration decided to bring the RJD chief back to the paying ward to make proper arrangements for his treatment. “The new director is now staying in the RIMS [Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences] guest house and waiting for the bungalow to be vacated,” he added. The bungalow was vacant when the former Union minister was shifted there.
Unidentified officials said that Yadav’s alleged phone call to BJP MLA Lalan Kumar Paswan on Tuesday was the real reason for the hospital administration’s decision to move the leader. The official said the prison administration was directed to take strict action against the RJD chief.
Inspector General of Prisons Birendra Bhushan said that the jail administration did not take the decision to shift Yadav, according to the Hindustan Times. On the inquiry ordered by the Jharkhand government into the alleged phone call, Bhushan said that he was yet to receive a report on it.
BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdev claimed that the Jharkhand government shifted Yadav to the paying ward under pressure as the “illegal work” of the RJD chief was exposed.
A row erupted on Tuesday after former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi had asked Yadav to refrain from “these dirty tricks” and shared a mobile number that he claimed the jailed politician was using to poach National Democratic Alliance MLAs in the state. However, RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary said the allegations were baseless and concocted.
On Thursday, Paswan had filed a first information report against the RJD chief in Patna for allegedly offering him a ministerial berth and persuading him to side with the Opposition during the election.
Hindustani Awam Morcha President Jitan Ram Manjhi also claimed that the RJD chief had made several bids by telephoning his close aides to talk to him over the Speaker’s election, which was eventually won by NDA candidate and BJP leader Vijay Kumar Sinha on Wednesday.
Yadav has been in jail since December 2017 after being convicted in multiple cases in the fodder scam that was exposed in 1996, which involved the embezzlement of around Rs 1,000 crore from the state exchequer for the purchase of fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle. He was the chief minister of the state at the time. He has served most of his jail sentence in Jharkhand at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Ranchi.