Phone call row: Lalu shifted from hospital director s bungalow to paying ward
Imprisoned RJD president Lalu Prasad was shifted from the director's bungalow of a Ranchi hospital to its paying ward on Thursday following his alleged phone call to a Bihar BJP MLA seeking his help in defeating the NDA candidate for assembly Speaker's post, an official said.PTI | Ranchi | Updated: 27-11-2020 03:06 IST | Created: 27-11-2020 01:05 IST
Imprisoned RJD president Lalu Prasad was shifted from the director's bungalow of a Ranchi hospital to its paying ward on Thursday following his alleged phone call to a Bihar BJP MLA seeking his help in defeating the NDA candidate for assembly Speaker's post, an official said. Prasad, the former Bihar chief minister who was convicted in fodder scam cases, was undergoing treatment in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) for multiple ailments.
"Lalu Prasad Yadav was shifted from the bungalow of the director to room number A-11 of the paying ward today," Dr Waghmare Krishna Prasad, Additional Director of RIMS and Joint Health Secretary of Jharkhand, told PTI. Waghmare said that it was decided by the RIMS administration to bring the former Union minister back to the paying ward so that proper arrangements can be made for his treatment.
Besides, he said, "The new director is now staying in the RIMS guest house and waiting for the bungalow to be vacated." When the RJD chief was shifted to the bungalow, it was vacant. Howeer, sources in the Home Department said that after Tuesday's "phone call", the prison administration was instructed to take strict action.
Prasad was transferred from the paying ward of the RIMS to the residence of its director in August to protect him from exposure to coronavirus. The Jharkhand government on Wednesday ordered a probe into the allegation that Prasad, violating the jail manual, telephoned Bihar BJP MLA Lalan Kumar Paswan, asking him to abstain from voting during the Speaker's election on Tuesday.
Prasad, who also served as the Railway minister in the UPA-I government, has been behind bars since December, 2017 in cases related to the fodder scam in the 1990s in undivided Bihar, when money was fraudulently withdrawn from treasuries in the name of supplying fodder to animals. BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdev said that the Hemant Soren government shifted Prasad to the paying ward under pressure as the "illegal work" of the RJD boss has been exposed.
In Jharkhand, the RJD is part of the JMM-led ruling coalition which also has the Congress. The purported call was made by Prasad on Tuesday and in the audio clip which was shared by senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on his Twitter handle he could be heard asking Paswan to "be absent, saying that you have got afflicted with corona".
Upon being told by the MLA that he was bound by party discipline, Prasad had said, "We are going to topple this government.... You will be made a minister later on". The MLA lodged a police complaint against Prasad in this connection.
Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi also revealed during the day that the RJD supremo had made several bids by telephoning his close aides to talk to him over the Speaker's election. "There is no justification in keeping him (Prasad) in the paying ward. He should have been sent back to the Birsa Munda Jail," the Jharkhand BJP spokesperson said.
A public interest litigation has been filed in the Jharkhand High Court seeking an impartial inquiry into Prasads health..
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