Nitish Kumar’s new Justice Minister Kartikeya Singh faces arrest in a kidnapping case and a warrant is out. But Bihar’s chief minister told reporters today that he had no idea of such a case against his minister.
“I’m not aware,” Nitish Kumar said when asked by reporters about the warrant against Kartikeya Singh, who belongs to Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav’s party.
Kartikeya Singh was due in court on August 16. On the same day, he was sworn in as a minister in the new government of Nitish Kumar.
Mr Singh, a member of Bihar’s Legislative Council, is charged, along with 17 others, in a 2014 kidnapping case. He is accused of planning the kidnapping of a mason in order to murder him. He claims he was falsely accused and there is no warrant against him. An order from the Patna High Court had noted that the victim in the case did not name Mr Singh in his statement to a magistrate.
On August 12, a court ordered that “no coercive action” could be taken against him until September 1.
Nitish Kumar split from the BJP earlier this month and formed a government with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and other parties. The Chief Minister and Tejashwi Yadav were sworn in on August 10. Five days later, Nitish Kumar added 31 ministers, most of them from the RJD. His own Janata Dal United retained 11 ministries.
Nitish Kumar believed, according to sources, that Home Minister Amit Shah was trying to split his party and was planning a Maharashtra coup. Uddhav Thackeray’s government collapsed in Maharashtra after a BJP-facilitated rebellion in the Shiv Sena by Eknath Shinde, who is now chief minister.
For several months before the breakup, Nitish Kumar had been regularly needled by Bihar BJP leaders and he had read signs of trouble.