'Leaders From Nitish Kumar's Party Helped Expose Lalu Yadav,' Says BJP Leader Sushil Modi

On Wednesday, Nitish Kumar broke ranks with both his allies Lalu and the Congress to back Ram Nath Kovind, the BJP's nominee for President. It is seen by many as a notice to Lalu Yadav, with whom Nitish Kumar forged an uneasy alliance to defeat the BJP in the Bihar assembly elections two years ago.

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Sushil Modi was deputy to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for many years when their parties were allies.

New Delhi:  Sushil Modi, the BJP's most senior leader in Bihar today told NDTV that leaders from within Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's government had helped him expose what he has alleged are corrupt land deals worth hundreds of crores by Lalu Yadav and his family. Lalu Yadav is Nitish Kumar's ally and his two sons are ministers in the Bihar government.

"I can't name names but yes, we couldn't have sustained this expose on Lalu's benami properties for over 80 days without the help of JDU leaders," said Mr Modi, who has furnished reams of documents which he says prove that the Yadavs acquired benami property worth Rs 1,000 crore using shell companies. The allegations are being investigated by the tax department, which has this week charged six members of the family, including Lalu's son and Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, with owning benami property.

Mr Modi was responding to a question on speculation that Nitish Kumar helped him expose the alleged scam. "I can't comment on that," he said, adding, "But I can say some documents, some information we got even from JDU people and from inside the government otherwise it is very difficult to get all such information... but I will not disclose any names."

On Wednesday, Nitish Kumar broke ranks with both his allies Lalu and the Congress to back Ram Nath Kovind, the BJP's nominee for President. It is seen by many as a notice to Lalu Yadav, with whom Nitish Kumar forged an uneasy alliance to defeat the BJP in the Bihar assembly elections two years ago.

Sushil Modi, who was deputy to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for many years when their parties were allies, today refused to "read Nitish Kumar's mind," but noted that it is "tough to run a government with Lalu Yadav."        

"Many people in the JD(U) do not want any relation with Lalu's party," Sushil Modi alleged.

He refused to conjecture, however, on whether Nitish Kumar's support for Mr Kovind signaled his possible return to the national alliance that the BJP leads. "It's Nitish's decision to ally with the BJP, I can't advise him,'" Mr Modi said, adding, "Can't predict...anything can happen in politics."

The BJP leader said it would have been difficult for Mr Kumar to oppose Mr Kovind as he is a Dalit leader. Nitish Kumar draws crucial support from "Mahadalits" in Bihar. The Chief Minister, he said, also had a good rapport with Mr Kovind, who had no confrontations with the state government during his tenure as Governor of Bihar.

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