CM accused of cover-up after 9 children killed in hit-and-run

Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party suspends Baitha, whose vehicle was reportedly involved in an accident that killed schoolchildren

Patna: Opposition RJD and Congress members on Tuesday staged protests in the Bihar Assembly demanding the arrest of BJP leader Manoj Baitha whose vehicle was reportedly involved in an accident that killed nine schoolchildren on Saturday in Muzaffarpur district.

Alleging that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his government were shielding Baitha, Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav also demanded a discussion in the state assembly over the delay in his arrest.

Meanwhile, amid the opposition’s hue and cry over the issue, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended Baitha from the primary membership of party for six years.

On Monday, the opposition parties, including Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), had also threatened to launch a protest in the state if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader is not arrested soon.

They demanded that a probe be conducted to establish whether Baitha, “who was driving the vehicle at the time of incident”, was drunk or not in the “dry state of Bihar”.

On Saturday, Yadav said: “The vehicle had a BJP board attached to it and the driver was drunk when the accident took place. BJP leaders are totally drunk in power.”

The police said that Baitha was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, but he along with his driver fled and went into hiding. They said raids were being conducted to arrest Baitha.

An FIR was lodged on Monday against Baitha on the statement of Mohammad Ansari, whose five grandchildren were killed in the accident.

On Sunday, angry villagers blocked the National Highway 77, demanding Baitha’s arrest.

Ansari, a resident of Dharampur village, told the police that Baitha was driving the vehicle when it mowed down the children.

Clad in a white kurta-pyjama, Baitha fled after the vehicle hit the children, he added.

He claimed that CCTV footage also showed the BJP leader driving the vehicle.

The accident occurred near Dharampur school on NH 77 in Minapur block on Saturday when an SUV hit the children while they were crossing the road.


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