Patna: President of the Bihar unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to initiate an investigation against coalition partner Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Modi's demand came after an English news channel aired an audio clip of Lalu having a conversation with jailed mafia don Mohammad Shahabuddin.
"This tape shows that this is not their first conversation. They used to be in touch through phone. This tape reflects how Shahabuddin has been running a parallel government through jail. This tape further shows how Lalu Prasad is dependent on Shahbuddin and how Nitish Kumar is dependent on Lalu," Modi said.
"This tape further established that how Shahabuddin, from jail, is giving directions to Lalu Prasad and how the government is running," he added.
Modi said the BJP would seek an appointment from Governor Ram Nath Kovind and ask him to direct the Director General of Police to initiate an investigation against Lalu Yadav.
"It is an Agni Pariksha for Nitish Kumar. It is to be seen whether he would take a stand and act on this matter or not," he added.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the RJD chief of breaking law by "shamelessly" hobnobbing with a man convicted of murder and accused in over 30 serious cases, saying the development was text book case of constitutional impropriety.
Ravi Shankar said, "We would like to ask you (Nitish), are you going to start and institute criminal proceedings against Lalu Prasad."
RJD functionary Jagdanand Singh said, "I have no idea because I have not seen the tape. I have come here for other work. You should ask the owner of the Tihar Jail if such a thing took place," he said, adding that "the party will never expel Shahabuddin from the party."
"Shahabuddin is part of the party and it is not hidden," he added.
Bihar BJP President Nityanand Rai demanded Kumar's resignation, saying the report has exposed the criminal-government nexus in Bihar.
"Nitish Kumarji, a crime has been committed. Are you going to launch criminal proceedings against your ally Lalu Prasad?" he asked at a press conference.
The channel earlier had played a recorded conversation which it claimed took place between Lalu Prasad and Mohammad Shahabuddin.