Petition seeks action against Nitish on flood funds

Patna, June 21 (Calcutta Tube) A criminal case should be filed against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for returning Rs.5 crore flood relief funds to Gujarat, a petitioner said while moving the Patna High Court Monday.

The public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against the chief minister is likely to be heard by the court next week, petitioner lawyer P. Gupta said.

The petition has sought registration of a criminal case against Nitish Kumar under section 53 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 that deals with punishment for misappropriation of relief money or materials and carries a maximum imprisonment of two years.

It has also sought a probe by a committee constituted by the high court into the relief funds received by the state from various sources after the Kosi floods in 2008.

Action against the chief minister, who also heads the State Disaster Management Authority, is being sought for returning the Rs.5 crore given by Gujarat government for flood relief, he said.

Gupta, general secretary of NGO Chhaya Sarkar, said that in his PIL he has questioned why the Bihar government did not utilise the money (Rs.5 crore) for flood relief.

‘What was the government doing with the money and why did the government fail to utilise the money for relief,’ he said.

He said in the PIL that the money returned by Nitish Kumar to Gujarat neither belonged to him nor Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. ‘The money belonged to the people of Gujarat,’ he said.

Miffed over advertisements featuring him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and referring to the aid provided by Gujarat during the floods, Nitish Kumar Saturday returned the Rs.5 crore that had been given for the purpose.

Nitish Kumar June 12 had threatened to return the ‘unutilised money’ to Gujarat.

He threatened legal action against the agency that had released the advertisements for using his photograph without his permission.

He said the Gujarat government’s claim was uncivilised and against the Indian culture. ‘Nobody claims of bestowing favours on those who face tragedy caused by natural calamities,’ he said.

The advertisement, published in the name of dozens of people of Bihar who are now settled in Gujarat, projected Modi as a close friend of Nitish Kumar and highlighted his state’s generous help after the floods.

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