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Janata Dal defends Laloo Yadav

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

The Janata Dal's political affairs committee has defended Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav who was interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday about his alleged involvement in the Rs 10 billion animal fodder scam.

JD Working President Sharad Yadav told reporters after the PAC meeting on Wednesday night, "Mr Biswas is not a judge and he should stay within his capacity of a government official." The reference was to U V Biswas, the CBI's joint director (east) who headed the six-member team which interrogated Laloo Yadav for nine hours. Biswas had hinted to reporters on Tuesday that the Bihar chief minister was likely to be chargesheeted in the scam.

Sharad Yadav said there was nothing wrong in the Bihar chief minister being questioned by the CBI since 42 people had already been interrogated in the matter. He attacked Biswas's 'over-enthusiasm' to nail the Bihar CM.

Sharad Yadav also moved quickly to remove the apprehension that some of the United Front's constituents were interfering with the Budget-making process. "The Budget," he stressed, "is the prerogative of the prime minister and the finance minister even though the government welcomed suggestions from its constituents."

When reporters asked him about the UF's relationship with the Congress, Sharad Yadav pointed out that following Tuesday's meeting between the prime minister and Congress president Sitaram Kesri, the threat of the central government being dislodged from power had been averted for the time being.


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