Jharkhand's Saryu Rai raised objections to renewal of mining rights to companies charged of wrong-doing
The ruling BJP in Jharkhand is facing an embarrassing revolt by a senior minister who walked out of a cabinet meeting on Tuesday objecting to the renewal of mining contracts and declaring "I don't want to go to jail".
Saryu Rai, the minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs and Food and Civil Supplies, has raised strong objections to the renewal of mining rights to companies investigated for wrong-doing. It is a violation of court orders, he told his colleagues.
Although the decision to extend the mining rights to these companies was taken by the cabinet earlier, Mr Rai was insistent in the cabinet meeting that the decision should be amended and the mining department should consult the law department.
When some of his colleagues pointed out that the cabinet had already signed off on the order, Mr Rai reportedly argued, if the constitution can be amended, then why not cabinet decisions?
He left the meeting muttering that sooner or later, the CBI would start investigating and then violations would be exposed.
Officials in Jharkhand 's Raghubar Das government say that due to the delay in the extension of iron ore mining rights, it is losing hundreds of crores every year.
The walkout by a minister is likely to be seized by opposition parties.
Mr Rai is a senior leader known to be an anti-corruption crusader who exposed several scandals including what is known as the "fodder scam" or the siphoning of crores in the name of cattle fodder - a case in which two former Chief Ministers were convicted.
Mr Rai was also instrumental in exposing the mining scam in which another former Chief Minister, Madhu Koda, and his associates were jailed.